SAN MATEO, Rizal - A 24-year old resident in this town used the cash aid she received from the government to open a small business to cope with a Luzon-wide lockdown aimed at containing the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Joverly Arellano told ABS-CBN News on Thursday that her computer shop closed due to the COVID-19 lockdown that started last March. Her husband, a construction worker, has been stranded in neighboring Pampanga and unable to send her money.
Arellano said she received P6,500 from the government, half of which she used to buy meat, noodles and other ingredients for selling take-out breakfast meals like "pansit."
“Mas maigi ngayon, may kinikita ka," said the mother of two.
(It's better if you have a steady source of income.)
Some 18 million poorest families nationwide stand to get P5,000 to P8,000, depending on their region, from the national government.
San Mateo Mayor Tina Diaz said that while she was thankful for the cash aid, the local government needed more help from the national government because her town's quick response funds used for relief goods are almost depleted.
She said she also hoped more families could get cash assistance.
"Pareho kami ng sentiments ng iba nating local chief executives... Parang nanay ano, gusto niyo lahat ng anak ninyo talagang mapagbigyan at maging pantay-pantay din ho hangga’t maari,” Diaz said.
(Local chief executives have the same sentiments. We are like a mother who wants all her children to get aid as fairly as possible.)
Virginia Villanueva, 75, is among those who have yet to get cash aid. A part-time seamstress, she survives the lockdown by getting alteration projects from her neighbors and sewing face masks for a non-government organization.
The NGO provides materials for the mask and she gets paid P8 per piece, she said.
“Mahirap talaga itong gawin at saka maliit lang ang bayad, pero nagtitiyaga na lang,” Villanueva said.
(It's really difficult to make, and the pay is small, but I persevere.)
Some 50 million residents are under lockdown in Luzon until April 30. President Rodrigo Duterte will decide Thursday whether or not to extend the community quarantine, or modify its implementation.