July 19, 2024

Dear Manang,
I am single and a contractual worker. I live in a boarding house. When the quarantine was enforced, I was supposed to work part time at a cafe. I saved a little money but for five weeks, I have had no income and I am saving it for critical days. When relief goods were distributed, I was hopeful to get a bag but the barangay officials said I wasn’t qualified because I was single and the dormitory was not a qualification. I have borrowed money from friends but I am scared that work will not be readily available even after the lockdown. Is there some remedy?
Barry of Happy Homes Old Lucban, Baguio City

Dear Barry,
Life sucks but sometimes it can be better if our bureaucrats could be more discerning and plan with foresight. I have endorsed some friends for the relief packs but I too have not considered the single workers who live in dorms as needy in these times. You have just made government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development aware about a new sector. There are underemployed migrant workers in the city too who should get some help. Maybe the mayor’s office could help with some relief goods. I would pass on my relief bag to you but I am also disqualified because I own the house that I live in. I hope you made payments at the Social Security System so you can get a loan. I too am at a loss for advice here.
Check out other agencies,

Dear Manang,
I am a contractual worker. Sometimes, I drive a taxi or jeep or I take odd jobs. I work once or twice a week. I take care of my 90-year-old mother who is receiving a meager pension. I am married but my wife and children were in Manila when the quarantine was declared. I heard from my neighbor that he received the Social Amelioration Program fund. I went to the barangay but the kagawad said I do not qualify because my family is not in the city. How come I am not qualified when my family needs money too?
Andy of Crystal Cave, Baguio City

Dear Andy,
Guidelines for the SAP should have been expanded by the DSWD and city government. The problem with our system is there is no monitoring for income of the contractual workers. I would have suggested a certification of non-membership in SSS because it’s hard to pay contributions when you have irregular work. But that can be fraudulent too. The barangay should be diligent in their survey of residents but then again, that is a tall order. I am sorry I am not useful in these times. We can hope and pray that someone in government takes note of other sectors to include in the guidelines.
Stay positive,