Pinoys in Spain uncertain about future after 2nd lockdown extension

Sandra Sotelo Aboy, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 19 2020 03:58 PM | Updated as of Apr 19 2020 11:41 PM

Pinoys in Spain uncertain about future after 2nd lockdown extension 1
Priest Andres Conde, 49 stands on an empty street while waiting for the arrival of the needy to collect food donations he is distributing to, during a lockdown amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ronda, southern Spain April 18, 2020. Jon Nazca, Reuters

MADRID, Spain - Spain's announcement of a second extension of the State of Alarm until April 26 brought worries and uncertainties among Filipinos in the country.

A prolonged lockdown would mean another month of suffering as resources are already scarce and bills keep coming in, some Filipinos shared.

Rossel Besana, a single mom at the low-infected Canary Islands, works as a cleaner in two different homes. She has a 'no work, no pay' morning job, while her afternoon occupation already gave her her full salary for March even though she only worked for 2 weeks before the national lockdown.

But with the second extension, she wonders how she will get through the coming months.

“Dahil hindi na ako nagtrabaho ng Abril, wala na rin akong matatanggap. Maganda ang extension kung kalusugan ang pag-uusapan. Pero sa mga domestic worker na gaya ko, mahirap,” said Besana.

(Since I haven’t worked the whole month of April, I won’t be receiving any pay. The extension is good if we talk about our health. But for a domestic worker like me, it is hard).

In a telephone interview with Albert Cagaoan, a Filipino community leader in the province of Tarragona, he said the extension is a good way to suppress the contagion, but he is worried for the financial obligations of each Pinoy household.

“Walang income ang ating mga kababayan dahil karamihan ay hindi full-timer. Paano na makakapagpadala ng pera sa Pilipinas kung hindi nga makalabas na magtrabaho? Ano na lang ang ibabayad natin sa ating mga gastos?”

(Most of our countrymen don’t work full-time so they won’t have any income at all. How can you send money to the Philippines if you can’t even go out to work? How can you pay for your regular expenses?)

The State of Alarm was first declared on March 14 for a period of two weeks.

An enhanced lockdown followed until April 12 to keep citizens at home for the Holy Week.

The second extension was later declared until April 26, which included easing on some measures. Non-essential jobs could go back to work, and some sectors like construction and manufacturing of basic supplies were allowed to resume.

Some Filipino domestic workers were also recalled by their employers.

“Una, takot akong magbiyahe papuntang trabaho pero wala na rin kaming allowance. Sa Mayo pa natin makukuha ang ayuda ng gobyerno. Kaya nang tinanong ako ng employer ko kung puwede akong bumalik, nag-oo na lang ako,” said Angelica Dimaiwat, who has been working for the same household for 7 years.

(I’m afraid to commute to work but we’ve already run out of allowance. The government subsidy will not be received until May. So when my employers asked me to come back, I said yes.)

Jhen Villanueva is one of many who suffered temporary suspension of work or ERTE.

“Pinapapunta ako ng employer ko para pag-usapan ang aking kalagayan. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang plano nila sa akin,” Villanueva said.

(My employer called me to go to work and discuss my situation. I don’t know their plans for me.)

Although Spain has already started flattening the curve in the COVID-19 outbreak, some Filipinos worry about the resurgence of infection and think that the easing of restrictions might have come too early.

“We are still in the transition process and most of the workers are not yet tested,” laments Concepcion Castro, a language teacher in Madrid.

As of April 19, Spain continues to see a descending trend as it registered 188,068 confirmed cases and 19,478 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).