The rise of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines followed by the announcement of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) have restricted the movement of people in Metro Manila and Luzon, leaving many daily wage earners and informal workers with no jobs.
Due to the ECQ, businesses were forced to halt operations – thus leaving so many of our daily wage workers with no jobs, and no means to provide for their families.
Despite these challenging times, the ‘bayanihan’ spirit of the Filipinos prevailed. Many companies, members of the private sector, and individuals took the initiative to assist fellow Filipinos who are in need.
Joey Gamos, a young entrepreneur, founder and owner of the brand Tara Baraha!, is among the many who stepped up to help those who lost their means of living. ‘Tara Baraha!’ is a small local business selling playing cards that showcase the beauty of the Philippines. The deck comes with 52 info cards that would take you on a visual journey around the Philippines, and three joker cards that serve as bucket lists to top destinations around the country. Gamos mobilized her own network and made use of her business’ Facebook and Instagram page to start a donation drive, “Tara TulongTayo!”, for the daily wage earners and their families.
“It started as a personal concern about our daily wage worker kababayans and their families. In the news that preceded the start of ECQ, I saw the struggle of so many of our workers who had to endure so much just to get to their place of work as public transportation was put to a halt – a foreshadowing of the hardships that they will go through for the rest of the quarantine period. They expressed their worries and concerns on how they’ll be able to feed their families,” Gamos shared. “Without their income, they would go hungry and possibly resort into other means of surviving. It could lead to crimes and disorderliness in the community – it will be a domino effect, really.”
Gamos felt restless and after speaking to a couple of friends about her worries, she had the urge to do something to help from home. She started by creating a compelling poster through online design platform, Canva, for the visual materials of her initiative. She then launched the fundraising drive on March 16, first day of the ECQ, which aimed to give Php1,000 cash assistance to affected daily wage workers.
Her close friends and family eventually joined her as the donations poured in as they all helped with the day-to-day operations. For the past 3 months, the whole Tara TulongTayo! initiative has become a collective effort by generous individuals, small local businesses and communities as some even mounted their own donation drives/online sales and chose ‘Tara TulongTayo’ as their beneficiary.
As of June 14th, and Day 89 of the initiative, they have been able to raise Php 1,741,353.00 and have sent out cash assistance to 1,741 of our daily wage worker kababayans. The initiative’s beneficiaries include our workers whose livelihoods have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: food establishment crew, PUV drivers, maintenance personnel, vendors, construction workers, salon staff, etc.
“Through the generosity of so many kind souls, we have been able to send help to those who need it the most, especially in these tough times. It was great to have been able to create a platform that enabled many of us to be able to help from home. May the kindest and best in us emerge as we continue to fight this global pandemic,” Gamos said.