#BrigadangAyalaKaakay: Retrenched sales ladies feel renewed sense of hope as economy reopens
MANILA – Rose Leyretana thought her 29 years at Tutuban Center had reached its end when Metro Manila was placed under strict community quarantine last March 2020.
“Magmula nang magbukas ang Tutuban Center, doon na ako nagtatrabaho. Hindi ko lubos maisip na sa isang iglap, matatapos na ‘yong tatlong dekada kong kabuhayan,” she said.
Leyretana, 52, is the most tenured sales lady at Anding’s Toys & Flowers, Inc. She has been with the business since its early days and is one of its most hardworking employees, according to owner Malou Yulit. And while it was heart-breaking to temporarily close her business, Yulit had no choice but to send her employees home.
“Talagang ubos po ang savings naming mag-asawa. Iyong mister ko rin po ay nawalan ng hanap-buhay,” Leyretana said. “Kaya talagang naiyak ako sa saya noong tinawagan ako ni Boss Malou at sinabihan na magbubukas uli kami.”
In the middle of the lockdown, Ayala Land launched the “Tutubuy,” an e-commerce platform dubbed online Divisoria, where shoppers can order products from tenants of Tutuban Center and have them delivered to their doorstep.
According to Yulit, Tutubuy has boosted their sales, thus enabling them to rehire their former employees. “We are grateful for Tutubuy for giving us access to another platform of selling. This is what e-commerce is about — exposure, convenience, and availability. Ayala Land gave us that,” she said.
“Ang laking pagpapasalamat namin sa Ayala dahil sa wakas, nakapagsimula uli kaming maghanapbuhay,” Leyretana added. “Safe na safe po mag-shopping dito sa Tutuban dahil istrikto sila sa health protocols.”
On Monday, Ayala Land President & CEO Bobby Dy led the distribution of food packs at Tutuban Mall to Kaakay beneficiaries from Tondo, Manila. “We are thankful to be part of this program to help our fellow Filipinos, especially those who now have to start over after losing their livelihood during the pandemic,” Dy noted.
One of the recipients is Elena Rondario, a single mother of four, who also lost her job when the pandemic hit.
“Napakahirap po para sa isang single mom na katulad ko,” Rondario said. “Hindi ko po alam kung saan kami pupulutin. Sagad na po ang budget para sa renta pa lang.”
When she lost her job, she sidelined as a volunteer in her barangay. “Para lang po may pambili ng bigas,” she quipped, adding that she really had a hard time making ends meet with the little honoraria she received from her barangay.
Luckily, she was able to work again at the Tutuban night market when the mall reopened. She also became a beneficiary of #BrigadangAyalaKaakay, a 12-week food distribution program where 10,000 urban poor families receive a weekly supply of rice, fresh vegetables, canned goods, and bread that will cover four square meals for a family of five.
“Tamang-tama po ang timing ng Kaakay dahil parang nagsisimula uli kami,” Rondario said. “Sa tulong ng mga pagkain na ibinibigay ng Kaakay, unti-unti ko nang nahahabol ‘yong mga utang ko sa renta, kuryente, at tubig.”
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