“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” A quote from Arthur Ashe struck a close resemblance to what this group of women, who are Pantawid beneficiaries in Poblacion, Asturias, Cebu, did for their business.

The determined women behind the Bigasan sa Poblacion Asturias SLPA proudly showcase their growing business.

“Aduna man mi rice subsidy kay puro man mi membro sa Pantawid. Mao naka hunahuna mi nga mag negosyo og bigasan kay haum man kini kung unsay naa nga dali mabaligya ilabi na inig claim sa rice subsidy (We have rice subsidy because we are all members of Pantawid. So we decided to do rice retailing business because it is easily sold especially during the time we claim the rice subsidy),” narrates Melanie S. Orquillas, member of the Bigasan sa Poblacion Asturias SLPA.

Since the Pantawid beneficiaries have a monthly rice subsidy of Php 600, the group felt the need to open up a business that would cater not only to the Pantawid beneficiaries in their area but also to the whole community.

“Sa pagsugod gyud namo ug abli, kami pa lang mga Pantawid ang mga customers, pero na dugay na, ni daghan na ang among mga customers, maong naka puno-puno mig baligya ilabi na sa basic needs diri sa among lugar (When we opened our store, we only have the Pantawid beneficiaries as customers. Later on, our customers gradually increase, so we were able to start selling basic essentials that the communities need),” added Orquillas.

The group’s business runs smoothly, and the number of customers gradually increases.  With this, the association agreed in their regular meeting to do a point system for members who regularly help in the store. “This is good because it inspires the members. We get bigger share of the profit if we regularly render duty at the store and if we do not absent from the meetings,” expressed Orquillas in dialect, as she talked about the initiative and good practices of their association.

Orquillas also emphasized that the most important thing is that there should be cooperation, understanding, and unity in the group so that business will prosper.

According to Magdalena Tañeca, president of the Bigasan sa Poblacion Asturias SLPA, this share from the profit has helped them during this pandemic. It was their way of giving back what they have earned since they started the rice retailing business on July 28, 2018.

On July 25, 2020, the association initiated an outreach program to 25 families in their community.  The association shared with them some food packs, which contained 4 kilos of rice, 2 packs of noodles, and 2 cans of sardines. It has been two years since the Bigasan sa Asturias SLPA has opened its store.

The members of the association have kept their feet grounded and the association stronger by uniting and reaching out to others during difficult times.

The association thanked the DSWD-7 Sustainable Livelihood Program for the seed capital fund of Php 300,000.00. It also expressed gratitude to the SLP workers for providing technical assistance, which contributed to the successful management of their business and helped them achieved the association’s goal.

The members are proud to say that from a simple plan, they now have a growing business. Indeed, these Pantawid women made a difference in their lives and in their community. ###

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