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Housewife-vendor stands strong amidst the pandemic

Cebu City, Philippines. For most people especially those whose income is not even enough for them to get by, the pinch of the pandemic is another boulder they have to carry every day.

And 30 year-old Jovelyn M. Maquez of Sitio Puso, Buhisan, Cebu City is no exception. To aid her husband put food on the table, she began selling goodies at home which started with just a bundle of coffee sachets. “Lisud man kung magsalig langko sa akong bana. Dili gyud pa-igu ang iyang kita sa among panginahanglan matag adlaw (It would be difficult if I would totally rely on what my husband was earning. His income is not enough to cover all our daily needs),” she said.

She went on vending at home while his husband worked at a glass center. She juggled the household chores with buying what little money she saved for her little business on top of taking care of their three children.

Just a few months before the pandemic emerged, she became a recipient of the DOLE’s individual starter kit (LSK) package of livelihood assistance worth Php18,000.00 for her sari-sari store. “Lipay kaayo ko kay napun-an gyud ang akong puhunan para sa akong gamayng tindahan (I was so happy being given the capital for my little store),” she added.

Jovelyn was one of the beneficiaries of the livelihood program of DOLE under the Individual Projects category and the assistance was released to them on November 2019 through the DOLE Tri-City Field Office (TCFO).

She recalled learning about his husband losing his job in the middle of the lockdown and she said it’s her sari-sari store and the capital she got from DOLE that helped them thrive each day.

Naka-kita manko ug opportunity panahon sa lockdown nga maninda pa gyud ug maka-on gawas sa mga items sa akong sari-sari store. So, wala gyud ko nahadlok sa virus, naningkamot ko nga mapun-an akong kita pinaagi pagpagmaligya ug tempura, French fries, hotdog, fish balls. Nahalin man sad tawn (During the lockdown, I saw an opportunity to earn more. I was not afraid of the virus. Instead, I tried my best selling other things such as tempura, French fries, hotdog, fish balls),” she recalled.

Jovelyn, a high school graduate, admitted to have gone through a very hard time during the pandemic. “Gi-budget lang gyud naku ug maayo ang akong puhunan sa paninda ug ang mga gastos para sa among pagkaon ug mga gamit sa mga bata labi na para sa diapers sa among 6-year old kamanghuran (I made sure to spend wisely especially for the sari-sari store and for our food and the needs of the children),” she continued.

Before receiving the livelihood assistance from DOLE, she estimated to earn from her sari-sari store at least Php5,000.00 per month. With the livelihood funds she got, she is now earning around Php11,000.00 to Php13,000.00 a month on top of the money she has little by little saved in a piggy bank.

"Gamay ra kaayo ning akong negosyo intawn pero daku kaayo ni ug gika-tabang naku ug sa akong pamilya. Daku kaayo ug natabang namu ang livelihood assistance sa DOLE labi karon nga panahon sa pandemic (My business is just a small one but it did help the family big time. And the assistance we got from DOLE has helped us a lot especially during this time of the pandemic)” she humbly added and happily said that she now does her purchases for the sari-sari store at least three times a week spending more or less than Php6,000.00 per week.

Jovelyn’s little business is one of the livelihood projects that have been continuously monitored by the DOLE to determine whether or not they’ve been sustained until present.

According to TCFO Head, Director Emmanuel Y. Ferrer, he is happy upon learning that Jovelyn along with the rest of the individual projects beneficiaries falling under the Tri-City Field Office, managed to keep their livelihood projects alive despite the pandemic.

DOLE-7 Regional Director Salome O. Siaton for her part, said that the Department gives value to all its livelihood beneficiaries regardless of the size of their livelihood undertakings. “What is important is that they are able to nurture what the DOLE has given them and the assistance positively changed their lives for the better. And we are happy knowing Jovelyn and how she is nurturing her little business despite the many challenges she has to face these days,” she said.

She said that like most families, the need to feed her family and sustain it outweighs her fear of the virus especially at the outset of the pandemic. “Kinahanglan man gyud mokayod. Follow lang gyud ko sa health protocol sa akong pagpaninda. Sa pag-monitor sa DOLE sa akong sari-sari store, proud ko kay bisag unsa kalisud, akog gyud ning na-ampingan hangtod karon (I really need to do whatever it takes just to make ends meet. I just made sure that I abide by the health protocol provided. And when the DOLE conducted their monitoring on us, I was proud showing them that I was able to take care of the assistance I received from the Department up until now),” Jovelyn quipped.








End//LSenarlo-Taniza with reporting from the Tri-City Field Office


For more information on this report, you may contact LuchelSenarloTaniza, Regional Labor Communication Officer at telefax number (032) 266-2792 or you may send an email at


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