Poor families in Bacolod brace for coronavirus impact

Marchel P. Espina
Poor families in Bacolod brace for coronavirus impact
Bacolod City's steps to lessen the spread of the coronavirus is worsening the economic plight of daily wage earners and informal settlers here

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Poor families, who continue to worry where to get their next meal, are now bracing for the impact of the enhanced community quarantine in this city beginning Monday, March 30.

Bacolod has already reported 4 coronavirus cases, prompting the local government to step up efforts to ease potential transmission of the disease. 

The steps taken seemed to have worsened the economic plight of the daily wage earners and informal settlers in the city as a result. READ: Bacolod reports 1st coronavirus case)

Elena Porquez, 76, of Barangay Alijis had called the streets her home as she had been sleeping outside the San Sebastian Cathedral for 6 years now.

She said she is aware of the threat of the coronavirus, and that she will go home to her family this Sunday, March 29.

However, she said she prefers to stay on the streets because she gets “more blessings” from the churchgoers. She added they have no food in their home because she could not find work at her age.

“Our daily subsistence were being provided. Many people help us here. I can survive if I live in the streets than at home,” she said. She is hoping that the government will give them assistance.

Taxi driver Ramir Mendoza, 41, of Barangay Bata is also worrying about what he will provide for his family next week.

He said his daily income was scarce in the past week.

He said he used to earn more than P3,000 a day and was able to take home P500 for his family.

“But now, I can barely earn P1,000. I rent this taxi for P1,500 and I have to spend another P1,200 for my gasoline,” he said.

He said that it is not enough, adding that his boss was kind enough to ease his rental fee. “Our situation is very hard…I now eat once a day in 12 hours of work, so I can still have something left to bring home to my family,” he added.

Rafael Abangan, one of the owners of a carinderia in front of a school at downtown Bacolod, said their income drastically dropped.

“We used to earned P12,000 to P14,000 daily. But now, we can’t even reach P2,000,” he said.

He said that next week, they will shut down their establishment because they will lose money if they continue operatiions. (READ: ‘We have no more food’: Jeepney, tricycle drivers in Bacolod cry for help)

The city government has already earmarked P30 million as initial funding for the emergency food assistance program for indigent families. – Rappler.com

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