For the over 400,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who lost their jobs due to COVID-19, the challenges brought by the pandemic made even basic survival a daily struggle. Anxiety over catching the virus and impaired mobility due to community quarantines were part of the immediate problems.
However, the harsh economic repercussions dealt the biggest blow. Returning OFWs came home to a dismal local job market that was still reeling from layoffs, downsizing, and even shutdowns.
It was in this scenario that the indomitable Filipino spirit surfaced. Soon enough, many distressed returning OFWs obtained part-time work or established their own small businesses. For some, the crisis led to opportunities for better and more sustainable ventures.
Among these is the story of Teodorico M. Ranili Jr.—an aging OFW who, like many others, was “trapped” in the Philippines during the initial implementation of the Enchanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). The unexpected loss of income quickly made the threat of hunger and homelessness very real for him and his family. “For a time, we had no place to stay and no income to sustain even our basic needs.”
With the prescribed cash allowances doing little to pay the bills, Teodorico knew he needed to act quickly.
Starting small from what little capital he could scrounge, Teodorico and his family started an online business for only the most basic necessities. “We started selling odds-and-ends like bleach and peanut butter online just to make ends meet,” he recalls. “Since we had next to nothing at the time, I remember that we made most of our first deliveries on foot.”
Eventually, Teodorico’s side gig would turn into a quaint sari-sari store that he dreamt of transforming into a full-fledged minimart one day.
The crossroads for Teodorico’s store soon came through the Tindahan ni Aling Puring (TNAP) program, Puregold’s loyalty and membership program for resellers and other wholesalers.
“Puregold’s Aling Puring program turned out to be the biggest blessing for us,” Teodorico says. “They have an accommodating and reliable agent that comes to our area weekly to assist with ordering. Through the TNAP system, purchasing sale items became extremely convenient. As a bonus, these items are delivered free of charge for any TNAP member.”
Today, Ranili is the proud owner of Ranili’s One Stop Shop—a convenience store serving his community in Meycauayan, Bulacan. In achieving this, he credits his membership in the TNAP as something that helped make his dream a reality.
“We were able to thrive and overcome the uncertainties of the pandemic through our store,” a grateful Teodorico relates. “This could not have been possible without Puregold and their Tindahan ni Aling Puring program. The convenience and the perks of being a TNAP member just make the life of a store owner so much easier.”