A group of travel agents has organized a pantry to aid workers in the travel trade sector who have been greatly affected by the pandemic.
The project called “Travel Agents Pantry” was the brainchild of Marciano Ragaza III of Travel Enterprise, Jaison Yang of Travel Warehouse, Inc., Ritchie Tuaño of Asiareps Travel, Michelle Victoria of Golden Eagle Travel, Jhaytee Wong of MTTS Travel, and Ferdinand Dondi Ocampo of Allpoints Travel.
Ocampo said he and his fellow travel agency owners wanted to target the workers of the travel trade sector because they are among the most affected during this pandemic.
“The business really is stagnant, hindi lang nararamdaman ng marami, pero yung travel agency talagang ‘yun ang naghihikahos kasi walang ticketing, walang kumukuha ng bus, walang kumukuha ng airline ticket, wala talaga, parang zero yung business (most people don’t feel it but the travel agency really has been struggling because we don’t have ticketing, nobody is renting buses, nobody is booking airline tickets, none, there’s really zero business),” Ocampo told the Manila Bulletin in an interview.
Ocampo said the pantry is the “least thing” they could do for their employees and for other workers under the travel trade sector.
To make sure that the pantry is well-organized, Ocampo said they will follow a certain system for their pantry.
Ocampo said the general manager of each travel agency will identify eight of their employees who are in most need of aid.
These employees will have to fill up a registration form for the pantry.
Beneficiaries will receive a message or an email from Ocampo’s team on their respective schedule of pickup of goods.
Ocampo said the location of the pickup will depend on where the employee resides. Beneficiaries will also be given a specific time for their pickup to avoid crowd buildup.
When the beneficiary arrives in the pantry, he or she will be given a package containing P1,000 worth of goods. He or she will also be allowed to pick other items from a truck filled with other goods.
All beneficiaries will also be given P100 in cash for their travel expense.
So far, Ocampo said they have coordinated with 200 travel agencies.
Regardless of size and operation, Ocampo said only eight employees per travel agency will be selected for their first run of the pantry.
Ocampo said the employee or the travel agency doesn’t need to be affiliated with any associations to qualify for the aid.
“May affiliation ka o hindi, pero naapektuhan ka ng pandemic because you are from the tourism travel trade, pwede ka dito (whether you have an affiliation or not, as long as you are affected by the pandemic, you can seek aid from us),” he said.
Ocampo said selected beneficiaries located in Manila, Pasay, and Makati will be given aid first on May 15.
The next pantry set up will be in Quezon City on May 16, while aid distribution for beneficiaries from Paranaque, Muntinlupa, and Cavite areas will be on May 22.
Other targeted areas for distribution are Pasig, Mandaluyong, and Rizal, on May 23; CAMANAVA (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela) on May 29; and Bulacan on May 30.
“Areas and schedule are still subject to change as we need to consider the number of registered beneficiates per area,” the organizers wrote in their project poster.
Ocampo said their initial target is to be able to give aid to 500 travel trade employees.
If more donations come in and they see that the first round of distribution was operated properly, Ocampo said they “might have a second round” of the pantry.
“Hanggat may magbibigay (As long as we have donors) we would go beyond the 500 people,” he said.
Ocampo said they raised over P265,800 donations in cash as of May 8.
Those who wish to donate can make a donation in cash or in-kind.