Normelinda Chavez, who owns Norlyn’s Bakery in Tarlac, was worried that the years she spent working and saving to put up her small business would all be for naught when the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was declared. The same concern weighed heavy on Marlon Catmon, owner of C&G Bakery in Iligan, when the number of customers buying his products disappeared seemingly overnight.
Although quarantine restrictions have affected retail operations across the MSME spectrum, it is the micro enterprises, such as the ones owned by Chavez and Catmon, that have borne the brunt of the income slowdown.
Experiences such as Normie’s and Marlon’s served as Pilmico’s driving force to initiate its bread donation initiative. Pilmico Food Corporation, an Aboitiz food unit, started donating bread with a dual purpose: provide bread for frontline workers, and help support micro bakery enterprises amid the ECQ. In nearly two months of operation, the initiative has produced and distributed over 520,000 pieces of bread to hospitals, police stations, and military checkpoints in various parts of the country.
In order to maintain supply and help distribute the bread efficiently, Pilmico partnered with community bakeries. These partner bakeries were paid either in flour or in cash, equivalent to the cost of bread produced and acquired. Big bakeries were mostly paid in flour, while small bakeries, like Norlyn’s and C&G, were paid in cash.
“Malaking tulong sa amin ang Pilmico. Bukod po sa nakatulong na ako sa frontliners, malaki rin ang naitulong nito sa pang-araw-araw na gastusin ng aking pamilya. [The partnership with Pilmico is a big help for us. Aside from being able to help the frontliners, it’s also a big help in covering our daily living expenses],” said Catmon.
According to Pilmico, the bakeries who were paid cash earned an additional PhP4,500 to PhP6,000 in daily sales, while those who were paid in flour earned an additional PhP11,500 to PhP20,000.
The extra earnings definitely were a boon to the smaller bakeries, especially to their employees.
“Dahil po patuloy na kailangan ang aming serbisyo sa paggawa ng tinapay, nagkaroon ng tuloy-tuloy na hanapbuhay ang aking mga empleyado, lalo na sa sitwasyon sa ating bansa na marami ang natigil ang hanapbuhay. [Because our bread production is continuously needed, my employees remain to have steady income. This is essential especially under the current situation where a lot of people have stopped working.] Thank you very much to Pilmico for continuously supporting our products,” Chavez said.
Pilmico also partnered with Gardenia, a leading bread brand in the Philippines, for the distribution of 10,000 loaves of bread in Taguig, Tarlac, and Cagayan de Oro.
“In times of crisis, when there are many things to worry about, it is important that the basic needs of people are provided for. Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Pilmico has sought to address this need by bringing comfort through food. With the bread donation initiative, we continue to provide some measure of relief to the communities around us that are affected by the current situation,” said Tristan Aboitiz, Pilmico President and Chief Executive Officer.