'Tiyaga lang': Grocery store employee walks 3 hours each to and from work

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 03 2020 09:27 AM | Updated as of May 03 2020 09:45 AM

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MANILA - A grocery store employee walks 3 hours from her home in Quezon City to her work in Caloocan City to serve the buying public and earn a living as the Metro Manila-wide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ban any mode of public transportation.

Fatima Torres said she wakes up at 1 a.m. and leaves her home in Novaliches around 2:30 a.m. to begin her three-hour walk to her workplace, which is nearly 15 kilometers away.

"Madaming nagpa-panic buying ngayon kasi po sa COVID-19, kailangan po namin pumasok. Mga frontliners din naman po kami sa supermarket," she told radio DZMM.

(Many people are panic buying due to the COVID-19, so we need to work. Supermarket employees are frontliners too.)

Torres said her manager had requested for a shuttle service, but the company could not provide one for her as her residence was far from other employees.

The company gives her a P50 transportation allowance, she said.

"Kung tutuusin, gusto ko nang bitawan yung trabaho. Kasi 2 weeks bago mag-total lockdown dito samin sa Novaliches, sabi po sakin ng manager ko, if ever hindi po ako makakapasok, forced resignation," she said.

(I would have wanted to let go of my job. Two weeks before the total lockdown here, my manager told me that if I couldn't go to work, I will be forced to resign.)

"(Pero) no choice ako. Sabi ko, mahihirapan ako pag walang trabaho. So, lakad na lang."

(I had no choice. I will find it difficult if I don't have a job. So, I walk.)

Torres, who works from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., said that while she does not mind walking in the early morning with strangers walking to their jobs, the worst is the afternoon heat.

"Bale, tiyaga-tiyaga na lang. Ang mahirap po samin is, yung pauwi kasi, 3pm siya ng hapon. Yun yung oras na tirik na tirik yung araw. Kulang na lang mahimatay ka sa daan," she said.

(I just persevere. What's difficult for us is getting home at 3 p.m., that's the time the sun's at its highest, you could faint on the road.)

"Imaginin niyo po, 8 hours po kaming nakatayo sa grocery store then maglalakad ka ulit ng 3 hours pauwi?"

(Imagine standing at the grocery store for 8 hours and then walking home for 3 hours?)

When she gets home, Torres said she rests for 10 minutes outside her house before she goes in to shower. Her mother would then apply hot compress on her feet.

She said she makes sure she's in bed already by 7 p.m.

Torres said she is open to a new job close to her residence, and employers may contact her through her Facebook account.