Just when her business was taking off, Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Rosemarie Gesmundo, a resident of Brgy. San Isidro in Rodriguez, Rizal, was just exploring her online business selling clothes and beauty products as a means to earn more for her family of four. She used to work as a cook and food vendor while her husband is a part-time construction worker.
“Sapat naman po ang kita namin noon pero gusto ko po sana ng mas malaking pagkakakitaan para makaipon kami at masiguradong hindi kami mawawalan kapag nagkaroon ng emergency. Nung nag-online selling po ako, lumaki po ang kinikita ko,” Rosemarie shared.
However, when the enhanced community quarantine was implemented, she was forced to stop her operations.
“Hindi na po ako nakapagtinda kasi bukod sa wala nang stock, hindi makakapagdeliver. Kaya po nung ECQ, wala talaga kaming kahit anong pinagkakakitaan,” she added.
Surviving the quarantine
Rosemarie shared that despite the effect of the quarantine on their source of income, their family still managed to survive during the quarantine from their savings and the goods provided by the local government.
Though they were able to survive day by day, Rosemarie still felt uneasy.
“Bukod po sa pang-araw-araw na pagkain, mayroon pa po kaming electric at water bill tsaka po renta sa bahay. Hindi po talaga maaaring wala kang pinagkakakitaan kasi hindi natatapos ang takbo ng gastos,” Rosemarie explained.
She found relief when her family was chosen as a beneficiary of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the national government under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Under the SAP, beneficiaries from the CALABARZON Region received PhP 6,500 on the first payout to help augment the needs of low-income families belonging to the informal sector mostly affected by the quarantine.
“Syempre po, unang pumasok sa isip namin, ilalaan namin ito lahat sa grocery. Pero naisip ko po na since malaking halaga po ito, baka po pwede s’yang maging puhunan para makapagtayo ng negosyo,” said Rosemarie.
From a mere augmentation support to help families go by through the quarantine period, Rosemarie started a business that she thinks will help them even when things go back to normal.
A business for the future
Rosemarie opened a small food stall using a portion of the cash subsidy they received. In her stall, she prepares at least 10 dishes a day. Aside from having neighbors as her usual customers, she also markets her products to other acquaintances online.
“Nakakatuwa po kasi ‘yung passion ko po sa pagluluto, nabalikan ko. Tapos po ‘yung natutunan ko sa online selling, nagagamit ko po ngayon,” Rosemarie shared.
Per day, Rosemarie earns approximately Php 300. According to her, she even manages to save money from the daily sales.
“Mas kampante na po ang pakiramdam ko ngayon kasi may napapaikot kaming pera. Buti na lang din po at ito ang naisip kong business kasi bukod sa mabenta, libre na rin ang pagkain namin,” shared Rosemarie.
For now, while there are still limitations under the general community quarantine, Rosemarie focuses on her business.
“Salamat po sa SAP dahil po bukod sa mayroon kaming naipangbili ng pang-araw-araw namin, nabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na kumita lalo na ngayong taghirap. Ngayon po, hindi na namin problema kung saan kami kukuha ng panggastos. Bukod doon, may ipon pa kami,” Rosemarie shared.#