BP2 recipient looks at e-commerce biz upon return to La Union

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HOPE FOR AN ENTREPRENEUR. Diane Carol Elumba, 36, shares her experience on how her food shop struggled with the pandemic's impact, in an interview at the BP2 depot in Quezon City on Monday (Dec. 6, 2021). Her family is among the 13 families set to depart to their respective provinces on Dec. 7. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – A beneficiary of the "Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa" (BP2) program on Monday looks at pursuing an e-commerce business upon her return to La Union province.

Diane Carol Elumba, 36, was one of the thriving entrepreneurs hit hard by the shutdown of malls and major retailers across the country in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak last year.

“Nabaon kami sa utang kasi yung mga pang-puhunan ng mga gamit. Kasi nagba-bazaar kami, nagtitinda kami ng Hungarian (sausage), fruit juices. Tapos biglang nag-impose ng lockdown. Kaya yung weekly na kinikita namin nawala (We were buried in debt because of the investment for our bazaar shop, where we sell Hungarian sausages and fruit juices. After the lockdown was imposed, we lost our weekly profit),” Elumba said in an interview.

After pandemic-induced restrictions were imposed, Elumba said her family only relied on cash assistance distributed at the height of the pandemic's rage.

"Nung nagpandemic, natigil yung aming pagba-bazaar kasi wala nang nagma-mall eh, sarado yung mga malalaking stores (When the pandemic hit, we lost our shop because no one was going to the malls and all the big stores had to close doors)," said Elumba, who turned to online work during the pandemic just to put food on the table.

Elumba said her family had been eyeing to go home to La Union province, which offers more breathing space compared to the densely populated Metro Manila.

Hindi na kasi ma-experience ng mga bata na lumabas, kahit yun lang. Yung makalabas talaga na makalanghap ng sariwang hangin, gusto kong ma-experience nila yun. Sa probinsya, mas makakagalaw nang maayos yung mga bata at makakaiwas sa sakit (My children can’t even go out and breathe some fresh air. I want them to experience that. In the province, you’re free to move and you can avoid illnesses),” she said.

The Elumba family was among the 11 families who arrived at the BP2 depot along Agham Road in Quezon City to undergo dispatch process for their Tuesday departure.

Of the number, four families or 17 beneficiaries are bound for La Union, one family of two members are returning to Ilocos Sur, and six families or 24 beneficiaries are going back to Iloilo province.

Institutionalized under Executive Order 114, series of 2020, the BP2 program is an initiative of the national government created to address the congestion in Metro Manila's urban areas.

Government agencies guide the beneficiaries throughout this transition by providing additional support and incentives on transportation, livelihood, family needs, subsistence, education, housing, and others. (PNA)