Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, life became different. The enforcement of lockdowns and citywide quarantines here and abroad greatly affected the lives of so many, one of them being my cousin, whose livelihood became the bread and butter of her family.
She started to work in a cruise ship last February but needed to go home last April due to the pandemic. Her company decided to suspend operations until the virus is contained, or when everything goes back normal. Upon arriving back to the country, she was required to go to under a 14-day quarantine, and then she decided to avail of the programs offered by the government for returning seafarers and other overseas Filipino workers. Although the government provided financial assistance, it was not enough to survive the upcoming months, so she decided to use the assistance as an investment for her small baking business. She would accept orders and deliver them at a specified time. She uses social media as a marketing tool, as well as a medium to communicate with prospective customers. Payments are accepted through either GCash or cash on delivery. This set up allows her to generate income that can help support the basic needs of her family. Currently, she continues to expand her small business by selling various other items online.
Aside from my cousin, a friend of mine who is an insurance broker used to meet clients in person, but he had to try a different approach because of the virus. At first, his quotas were down, but online platforms helped him communicate, spread fill-out forms, and accomplish contracts. With these tools, he manages to gain more clients.
There are many others having trouble because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many are turning to online applications as a source of livelihood. Smartphone applications like Foodpanda and Grab delivery have had helped our communities by helping local businesses ferry goods to customers and providing wages to their riders. Even universities have been using the internet to reach out and provide education to students. Truly, the internet has become the focal point in today’s landscape - it is now our new normal, and for us to continue reaping its benefits, there must be strong support coming from service providers and from the government. Without it, efforts of my cousin, my friend and many others would be in dismay.
In a final note, the experiences we have today made me realize the value of Filipino resiliency. The pandemic has brought disruptions to the lives of so many Filipinos. Despite all the challenges and setbacks we face, Filipinos will always find ways to endure it all and thrive for better lives. Kudos to everyone!
Artche Lleve is an Associate of Tax Compliance and Advisory of P&A Grant Thornton in Cebu. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading audit, tax, advisory, and outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 24 partners and more than 900 staff members. We’d like to hear from you! Tweet us: @GrantThorntonPH, like us on Facebook: P&A Grant Thornton, and email your comments to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit our website: www.grantthornton.com.ph
As published in Mindanao Times, dated 24 August 2020