Savings save family from impact of no-work weeks

With numerous businesses in the Philippine cities and provinces closed due to enhanced quarantine, a number of families in rural communities find it difficult to provide for basic needs.

“My husband is without work for weeks now,” Rona, 34, said. Her husband, Pedro, 34, works in a trucking company that operates in Manila.  Rona and her family lives in Batangas where Taal Volcano recently erupted and affected several municipalities surrounding the volcano.

Pedro earns nearly Php1,000 a day when there’s trucking delivery needs. The amount is sufficient to provide for the family’s food and school needs of their two children, Alexa, 13, and Aaliyah, 6.

 

A few days before the quarantine started, Rona borrowed money from her CoMSCA group to buy a motorcycle. “But because we are under community quarantine, instead of buying a motorcycle, we are using the money now for our everyday essential needs specially that my husband has no income. Somehow, my decision to borrow money is a blessing in disguise.”

CoMSCA or Community-managed Savings and Credit Association is part of World Vision’s community intervention where parents are taught the value of savings. In most rural communities, banks are not the usual form of people’s savings because banks require numerous documents that a family may not be able to submit due to processing fees needed. Banks are oftentimes far from the villages. Rona has been a member of CoMSCA for three years already. Last year, she saved nearly Php13,000.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte put the entire Luzon under enhanced quarantine from mid-March until end of April in a bid to lessen the spread of COVID-19 . Businesses temporarily closed and public transportation are controlled. Curfew hours are implemented and a person per family is allowed to go out to buy basic necessities such as food and medicines. In Rona’s community, market day happens every Friday and Monday only, from 6AM until 11AM. Government relief goods are also provided to families in her village.

As of April 12, the Philippines’ Department of Health put the number of COVID-19 cases to more than 4,000 with around 190 recovered and nearly 300 deaths.

Rona said that it is difficult nowadays and money must be wisely used until things begin to normalize again. “It is really important that a family has savings so when times like this happen, they have money that they can use.”