Stories of Women During the Pandemic

July 11, 2021

translated from Women WISE3

(stories of impacts, of resilience, hope and struggles of workers, their organization, unions in the time of pandemic)

To be a Mother and Unemployed 

My name is Precy Laging, married to Lando Laging and we are blessed with a 13 year old boy. We are renting a small room, just enough for three of us in the family, that cost us P2700/month at Brgy Punturin, Valenzuela city

Lando, my husband is stay in. He only comes home every Saturday and Sunday, the only days he can assist me in my household chores. At least he stays in our small retail stores while I am doing laundry, cleaning, cooking and going to market. His workplace is quite far, he works in Paco DBM, (Dept of Budget nd Management-Paco, Manila) as delivery man.

I was also a worker. I used to work at Sign Fx Solution Inc. as a Messenger and sometimes as a  Secretary, where there was no  customer’s payment to collect. I started to work at Sign Fx Solution last Sept. 2018 -until March of last year, 2020. We produce Signnage, often for Metro Bank and  Banco de Oro (BdO) both huge banks locally. Collecting payments from customers was my primary job. They paid me Php537.00 in day for eight (8) hours and they pay me for overtime beyond 8 hours. 

As a woman, a worker and a mother, my works were quite difficult. Every morning as I opened my eyes, I have to think what and How to feed my family, while I have not bought any food for breakfast yet and while doing other household activities, from boiling water for a cup of instant coffee, cleaning the toilet, doing the laundry and house cleaning. At the same time, I have to think what to buy and what to eat from small amount of money I have, and think where I can borrow money for our day today needs,  and the money that I  will leave behind to for our son’s food while I am at work. 

The wage that Sign Fx Solutions  paid me and my husband wage were not sufficient for our daily needs,  with skyrocketting prices of commodities like rice, vegetable, fish or pork, so seldom I cooked prok Often, our food is a mixture oexpensivef eggs, can of sardines and instant noodles.

Actually, I seldom cooked pork, not because we don’t like it but because it is expensive. Parallel with these, electricity and water rates are also going up . The place we’re stying is too small, but we spend P1,500 (US$ 31.25) for electirity (pointing at electric bulbs) and and around P500 (USD 10.42) for water. Oh my God” is my usual sigh and often I can say. My pay day is still far, but my salary is already gone as my list of debt payment is long.  My wage was almost gone even without touching my hands.      Haay, and when my son’s schooling went online due to the pandemic, I have to worry about added expenses, tablet for school, cellphone load or data load for internet. Then I have to watch and assist or help my sonin his homework and see to it that his modules are completed. I ask myself, what more suffering  do I have to endure in this situation?

Today, in this time of pandemic our  life is morlong pe difficult. My husband and lost jobs at the same time time, We are forced by the siuation to depned on relief googs that seldome come, it likerain during the summer. When relief comes, we have to undergo long process before affected families can benefit from them. Only a select few can befit from SAP or Social Amelioration Program or DOLE’S CAMP IDept of Labor  ang Employment Comprehensive——} and not all affected families SAP OR CAMP is a financial assistance from the national government through Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Where is the  billion budget?(referring to the government)  for those affected by the pandemic. Why is it that workers and the poor have dont received any financial assistance?

This year 2021, we are almost halfway finishing the year and we don’t see any hope of returning to our previous jobs on. Cases of COVID 19 infections continue to rise and we still dont see any government clear plan for mass testing and vaccination for workers and the poor like us. Vaccines are not enough and the people endure long queues but there are no more vaccines. Even if there is a list of who should be vaccinated, there is always chaos, how about, when does the government plan to have us the poor, to be vaccinated? 

At present, in order to make sure that we get by daily, I cooked rice cakes, noodles, leche flan and porridge and I post them to facebook, so they can order and buy. But it is intermittent, because my initial capital is small which I often used to pay my debts. 

When my debts are paid, the I negotiate again for new loan for my inial capital in small online sand offline, 

I never stop thinking how my family can survive and how to maintain at least three  meals a day.# 

Salamat po!!