For years, Simeon Mercado of Brgy. Paciano Rizal, Bay, Laguna, has been relying on the income of his welding shop in providing for the needs of his family despite his disability in terms of mobility as he is polio survivor. He earns an average of Php 500.00 a day from doing welding jobs, mostly on minor repairs on tricycles and jeepneys. However, when the country underwent enhanced community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic last March 2020, his family’s main source of income was affected.
“Noon lang pong quarantine humina ang negosyo ko. Maliban sa walang customers na nakararating at bawal nga lumabas at s’yempre wala rin siguro silang pera, ako rin mismo hindi makalabas para bumili ng materyales. Buti na lang nga at may naitabi po akong kaunti para sa panggastos sa bahay noong mga panahong iyon,” shared Simeon who is a father of four.
When the quarantine measures eased up, Simeon immediately opened his shop and began accepting welding jobs, little by little, using the materials he has left. Simeon knows the importance of his shop in providng for the needs of his family.
“Dahil po malaking tulong ng shop sa amin, sinikap ko po talagang buhayin uli ito sa kabila po ng hirap at kakulangan ko ng materyales. Imbes na mawalan ng pag-asa, tinuloy ko lang po para sa aking pamilya,” Simeon shared.
Last December 2020, Simeon qualified to be among the recipients of livelihood grants in the municipality. He received Php15,000.00 cash assistance, which enabled him to resume full operation of his welding shop.
“Napakalaking bagay po ng Php15,000.00. Ginamit ko ang pera pambili ng materyales upang kayanin ko nang tumanggap ng mas marami at mas malaking trabaho,” Simeon shared.
By the start of 2021, Simeon’s shop was again back in full operation. Simeon not only worked on small welding jobs on tricycles and jeepneys, but also began accepting welding jobs for house and building repairs or constructions.
“Sa pagbalik ng normal na sitwasyon dito sa aming lugar at pagdami muli ng trabahong dumating sa shop, mas nakayanan ko pong tugunan ‘yung mga pangangailangan ng aking pamilya gawa ng dagdag kita. Mabuti na lamang po mabilis na nabalik sa normal na operasyon ang welding shop ko,” Simeon shared.
When an enhanced community quarantine was again imposed in the middle of March 2021 in NCR plus areas, which include Simeon’s locality, Simeon is confident that he and his family can survive this situation again. In as much as he is very much eager to resume the full operation of his shop as most of the funding assistance he received was invested in his shop, mostly in the form of supplies and materials, Simeon understands the situation the country is currently facing- the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for everyone’s cooperation in order to address this concretely.
He is certain that once the situation normalizes, he will once again be able to make good use of the assistance provided to him and enable him to provide for the needs of his family.***
Simeon Mercado is one of the 1,205 residents of Bay, Laguna who received financial assistance to enable them to cope with challenges caused by the imposed community quarantine in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Specifically, the financial assistance aims to help these recipient resume the operation or recover from the losses incurred by their respective small businesses or income generating activities. The provision of the said financial assistance was implemented under the Livelihood Assistance Grant of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.