Mrs. Yolanda Manalo of Novaliches, Quezon City, has been a bus conductress for more or less 20 years since 1990. She tried her luck at being an OFW (as domestic helper) for 2 years but home and family beckoned. So she went back to the inductry where she met her husband Alex, also a bus conductor. They have 3 children, now aged 24, 14, and 10.
Sometime in February 2008, the Pascual bus where Mrs. Manalo was assigned, was plying the major thoroughfares of Metro Manila. Along the Muñuz area, the bus stopped to load and unload some passengers. While helping an elderly woman alight from the bus, she met an accident. Because of this, the company allowed her to rest for 3 days, and thereafter reported to work again for few years sans any medical or laboratory examination.
A little over 2 years later, in September 2010, another road incident would define Mrs. Manalo’s fate. A car suddenly overtook their Pascual bus along the Trinoma area in Quezon City. Adangerous collision would have happened had the bus driver not immediately stepped on the break. Mrs. Manalo’s right hip strongly hit the metal frame, and was torn. If not for that providential pocket rip, she would have been thrown to the windshield. She felt extreme pain in her right hip. She got 3 days off to rest and again, went back to work as if nothing happened.
However, on 28 August 2011, unbearable pain shooting from her lumbar area sent her to hospital confinement. Her X-ray revealed spondylosis. She was prescribed with long rest and medication.
Despite prolonged leave from work, Pascual Liner gave Mrs. Manalo an extension of 3 months for rest in view of her good record. Further, she was able to claim 8 months sickness benefit from the SSS and 8 months EC-PPD.
However, she could no longer continue to work as bus conductress due to the bodily traumas she experienced. She eventually resigned from Pascual.
NOURISHING HER ENTERPRISING SPIRIT
Under the KaGabay, Mrs.Manalo first had to seek and take free physical therapy sessions at the PGH, ECC’s partner hospital. She subsequently attended the seminar on meat processing. She also completed the ECC- funded 4-month long (3 October 2012 to 6 February 2013) seminar on “How to Start Your Own Business Enterprise” (SYOBE) conducted by the Center for Small Entrepreneurs. For someone who had no such training in the past because her work limited her to confines of the bus, she fully appreciated the SYOBE seminar particularly in the areas of costing, record keeping, fiscal management and discipline. She was, after all, an entrepreneur in her own right even during her employment at Pascual. She continued on her entrepreneurial efforts especially up to the present, with no regular job to rely on. Since 1998, after her bus duties particularly from 7pm to 12midnight, she would sell burger, rice, viands, and snacks at the bus terminal in order to augment her meager salary. She also engaged in direct selling of shoes, makeup/cosmetic products, RTWs, uniforms, fresh tilapia.
She joined the ODWs (Occupationally Disabled Workers) Cooperative set up by the KaGabay beneficiaries. She is currently the secretary of its credit committee.
With renewed confidence in herself granted by the ECC-KaGabay program are taking good, sure steps towards improving their lives.