Makati cashier continues to work during COVID-19

While some of us can afford to stay within the confines of our homes during this COVID-19 crisis, some of our friends in service jobs such as cashiers and grocery workers still have to carry on working outside because they provide essential services to others.

Philippines Graphic journalist, Matthew Perez, was out shopping with his mother when he met one of these hardworking essential service providers – a cashier at SM Makati’s supermarket who was pressing on to make sure families got the groceries they needed.

She serves others, but also needs her job more than ever

Speaking to Perez’s mother, Makati Supermarket cashier Rosemarie Book admitted she was scared about the possibility of contracting COVID-19 given the nature of her job, but also needed her job more than ever even in the face of crisis.

Matthew Perez's post on Makati cashier Rosemarie Image credit: Matthew Pirante Perez

She shared, “Natatakot din po pero mas kailangan po namin yung trabaho namin. Lalo na may pamilya ako. Minsan nga po hindi na ko humahalik sa anak ko para… para din sa kaligtasan nila. Di na yumayakap, humahalik, ganon. Nakakalungkot.”

(Translation: “I’m also scared but we need our jobs more. Especially that I have a family. Sometimes, I don’t even kiss my kid for her safety. I don’t hug, kiss, or do stuff like that. It’s sad.”)

Perez captured Rosemarie’s dilemma in his heartfelt Facebook post, including a photo of the cashier assisting his mother. He appealed to influencers to refrain from labelling essential service workers like Rosemarie as people who refuse to stay home

Earns empathy from netizens

We are all being asked by the government to stay inside our homes, but in the case of Book, where she is in a difficult position between staying at home and continuing her job, netizens understand why she has to choose the latter. 

For instance, Mark Gonzales shared that his youngest sister, who also works as a cashier, has no choice as well but to walk 5KM to and from work these days

Mark Gonzales's reaction to Rosemarie's story
Image credit: Mark Edmine Gonzales

Facebook usr Aileen Ello added that cashiers like Book really need their jobs because they are under the “no-work-no-pay” scheme of contractual labor.

Aileen Ello's reaction to Rosemarie's story
Image credit: Aileen Ello

Protect service workers in the time of COVID-19

Indeed, some of the most affected people in this unprecedented health crisis are the service workers. Not only are they more vulnerable to contracting the disease, but they are also on thin ice now due to the prospect of losing their jobs. 

We hope everyone can show some understanding and compassion for our service workers, who cannot afford to lose their jobs and continue to provide us with important services.  

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Cover image adapted from: Matthew Pirante Perez


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