Wage earners anxious over loss of income, food in month-long quarantine

Mar. 24, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – As Davao City expands its lockdown measures until April 19 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), wage earners here are wary and afraid how to survive day by day.

Jun, 38, drives a taxi, where his average 1,300 pesos daily earnings is barely reached because of very few passengers due to the city’s lockdown and quarantine of business establishments.

He now worries if he has enough to bring food on his family’s table, especially for a five-month-old son.

“I don’t know what to now. Of course, we are very affected by the situation. I don’t know what will happen to our family, my children are still young and I don’t want them to starve,” said Jun

This is the same worry for machine shop worker Daisy Mae, 32.

When the city government implemented the community quarantine, their company announced that their workers should stay at home but will not get paid as it is considered absent.

“We were asked to use our sick leave to cover the absences while we stay at home to quarantine. We are just given a P1, 000 cash advance to use for our family needs,” said Daisy Mae.

Both of them expressed fear of where to find money and food for the month-long lockdown of the city up to April 19.

The city has imposed a community quarantine, advising closure of all establishments except for government offices, hospitals, banks, groceries, and other essential services. Citizens must wear masks at all times.

These new policies, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio ordered, have affected the usual flow of business and other activities in the city.

“It will take longer time for our workers to get back to their work and it will also result a big loss for our business establishments,” the mayor said in a radio interview.

The mayor said the city government will provide around 50,000 to 70,000 food supplies weekly to households affected by the loss of income due to the community quarantine. As of Monday, it has distributed 23,000 packs in 30 barangays.

The pack is good for six to seven days. But the city has a population of 1.6 million and 182 barangays.

As to how long this quarantine and assistance will continue, the mayor said the people may have to endure longer.

She mentioned the possibility of an extended quarantine can happen because of new reported Covid-19 cases.

The Department of Health has six confirmed Covid-19 cases in Davao Region and some of which had been admitted in the city’s Southern Philippines Medical Center

Duterte-Carpio, who also leads the region’s task force Covid-19, said she will always consult the DOH on the duration of the quarantine.

What the mayor worries is the food supply for the city.

Though the city allows the in and out of cargo trucks, the mayor said it is also possible to experience a shortage in food supply due to the implementation of lockdown in all places that can delay the delivery of goods.

“Here in Davao City, we are expecting that if there are challenges it will not come from our city because we allow cargo to come in and out. That is very clear in our guideline.” Duterte-Carpio said.

As the city grids for this scenario, workers like Jun and Daisy Mae, who represent thousands in Davao may have to wait a little longer. (davaotoday.com)

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