MANILA—Sari-sari store owner Maritess Bonion is one of the many thankful  beneficiaries of the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers #Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko (TUPAD#BKBK) Disinfection/Sanitation Project of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Bonion, 47 years old and a stay-at-home mother of three from Marikina City, joins the rest of the concerned citizens whose income and livelihood had been adversely affected due to COVID-19 pandemic.

“Dati kumikita kami ng P800 to P900 sa maghapon. Pero ngayon na naka-lockdown, nakaka P300 pesos na lang kami,” said Bonion who strives to man their sari-sari store every day to earn some cash to feed her family. Fortunately, their store is situated in their house and was allowed to keep it open amid quarantine enforcement.

Bonion is also a person with a disability and had to take monthly medications that resulted from a serious health condition she suffered in 2016. With the TUPAD #BKBK assistance, she said “Tamang-tama po yung assistance dahil hindi makapagtrabaho yung asawa ko at yung isa kong anak gawa ng lockdown. Malaking tulong din sa akin kasi kailangan ko ng pambili ng gamot para sa aking maintenance. Bukod sa gamot, nakabili din kami ng kalahating sako ng bigas at nakadagdag sa puhanan para sa aking tindahan.”

To avoid the spread of COVID-19, beneficiaries of the TUPAD #BKBK program are tasked to disinfect and sanitize their dwellings and surroundings for 10 days at P5,370 (or a daily wage of P537 in Metro Manila). After completing the program, beneficiaries are notified to claim their salaries through DOLE-NCR’s money remittance partner.

When asked on how she managed to participate in the TUPAD #BKBK despite her condition, Bonion said that the work is no different from their day-to-day cleaning tasks with her children, which she prioritizes at home for their safety and protection.

“Nakakapag-pahinga naman ako agad pagkatapos gumawa ng gawaing bahay,” Bonion said, adding:

“Mahalaga din kasi na makatulong sa paglilinis ng ating kapaligiran para sa kaligtasan ng ating komunidad dahil hindi natin nakikita yung kalaban natin.”

Signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III on March 18, 2020, the TUPAD #BKBK or DOLE Department Order 210, series of 2020 (DO 210-20) is one of the COVID-19 mitigating measures of the Department to help address the pressing needs of informal workers in the quarantined areas through provision of temporary wage employment.

As of May 28, 2020, the DOLE regional office in the National Capital Region (NCR) registered a total of 3,010 informal sector workers in Marikina City that have benefitted from TUPAD #BKBK. The beneficiaries were identified by the local government unit of Marikina City through its Public Employment Service Office (PESO).

END / Hershey Aquino