An 18-year-old student has been working as a grocery store bagger in Unisan, Quezon to finance his schooling and help his family get through the enhanced community quarantine.
In an episode of "Frontliners: A Brigada Special Online Series," Mark Dionel Nosquial shows exactly what a grocery store worker like himself has to go through every day.
His day started at 3 a.m.
With public transportation suspended due to the ECQ, he leaves the house while everybody is still sleeping so he could get to the grocery store early.
"Naawa din po kami sa mg customer masyado pong maagap. Sobrang haba na po ng pila, madaling araw pa lang po nakapila na, so kami na po ‘yung nagadjust na agahan po namin ‘yung pagbubukas," he said.
Apart from working more than 10 hours at the store, Mark also delivered eggs to the public market with a bike cart.
"Kapag sa trabaho po, nasa sakit po ng katawan kasi maghapon ka pong nakatayo. Bawal kang umupo, bawal ka magpahinga, kasi kailangan mabilisan po ‘yung transaksyon at wala po dapat masayang na oras," he said.
Mark admitted he was afraid of contracting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but he didn’t have a choice: His mom’s salary as a barangay secretary was not enough, while his father's livelihood was affected by the ECQ.
"Noong nalaman ko po na nagkaroon na po ng case dito, parang natakot po ako na baka kapag pumasok ako, mahawaan po ako. Kasi hindi mo naman po kilala yung mga makakasalamuha mo doon sa loob ng store," he said.
For every P1,500 he earns in a week, Mark sets aside P1,000 for school and P500 for expenses at home.
He said he feels sad whenever the store runs out of items that he hoped to purchase for his own family at the end of the day.
But it's the angry and impatient customers that really makes their job difficult, he added.
"Madalas po naming problema ‘yung mainit na ulo ng customer, gusto po lagi po silang una, mga mapagmadali po," Mark shared.
The teenager urged everyone to have some patience and compassion to grocery store workers who are also frontliners in the fight against COVID-19.
"Hindi po namin masabi sa kanila na kami po, nahihirapan po kami sa trabaho namin, wala po kaming pahinga tapos kakain po kami, late na, kasi kailangan po naming tapusin 'yung mga namimili, kailangan din po mahaba 'yung pasensya mo," Mark said.
"Sana po maappreciate po nila yung mapagsikap po namin na maserbisyuhan sila," he added.
Those who wish to extend some assistance to Mark Dionel Nosquial, you may contact him at 09367710217.
—Margaret Claire Layug/JCB, GMA News