was successfully added to your cart.


Economic impact of COVID-19 to microenterprises

SEDPI is a group of social enterprises that provide capacity building and social investments to development organizations and directly to microenterprises. We serve ~8,000 microenterprises in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur, two of the poorest provinces in the Philippines.

Most of our members, about nine in 10, are women with an average age of 42. These women, mostly belonging to the informal sector, are typically into vending, farming, fishing, dress making, selling food, and livestock backyard raising.

Community assessments

Every week, since the community quarantine was imposed on March 15, 2020; SEDPI conducted rapid community assessment with its members. These were conducted on March 15, March 30, April 5 and April 14; through survey via text messaging and calls with our members.

The rapid community assessment aims to determine the economic impact of COVID-19 on our members and to have a clearer picture of what transpires on the ground. We asked our members the following:

  • Status of their livelihood – unaffected, weakened or stopped
  • Experience symptoms of COVID-19
  • Access to government assistance
  • Support needed after the community quarantine

All microenterprises were negatively affected

Nora Parangan was forced to close her sari-sari store since she could not buy inventory due to the lockdown and already spent most of her sales for their daily needs. She hasn’t received any assistance from the government.

All microenterprises were negatively affected due to COVID-19. Immediately after the community quarantines were announced, 34% of microenterprises stopped their livelihood. After two weeks this spiked to 51% and slightly recovered to 41% after a month of lockdown.

Some microenterprises reopened their livelihood because they need to earn income to have enough budget to buy rice at the minimum. They sourced locally-available inputs to do this and were able to sell banana cue, camote cue, cassava cake and rice cakes among others.

Majority of microenterprises or 59% reported that their livelihood weakened. Of which, 59% and 31% reported significant and severe weakening of livelihoods resepectively.

Supply chain disruption; inability to deliver goods and services; and prohibition to open non-essential businesses were the main reasons given for stopping or weakning of their livelihoods. With families having to stay home and most business remaining closed, there are very few buyers of their products and services. Most barangays prohibit entry of non-residents which prevent others from going to work.

Exposure to COVID-19

An encouraging finding in the rapid community assessment is that only 2 of the 6,071 respondents are persons under monitoring. This may be a positive sign that the community quarantine is effective in containing the rapid spread of the virus.

The quarantine period was extended to April 30 and the question now is how much longer can the poor endure its negative effects to their livelihoods. Many of them are saying that they might die first of hunger before getting infected with COVID-19.

Access to government assistance

Merlinda Jumawan services a small inn as a laundrywoman in Trento, Agusan del Sur. She is currently out of work and stays home to care for her grandchild.

It is important to consider the well-being of low-income groups and provide them with enough economic support and social safety nets during this quarantine period. The government’s cash assistance and emergency relief is very much needed on the ground to help them survive.

Only one of ten microenterprises or 11% were able to receive cash assistance; and 60% received relief goods from the government as of April 14. This is an improvement of 1% and 17% respectively from the previous week showing marginal improvement in access to government assistance.

Those who received cash assistance got PhP3,000 to PhP4,000. Most of them received PhP3,600 cash assistance through the 4Ps program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Relief goods received were composed of rice, canned goods and soap. Most of those who received these said that the supply will only last them for 1-2 days. Most of the respondents or 82% also expressed that the PhP5,000 cash assistance will not be enough to cover their daily needs in the next two months.

Support needed after the quarantine

The rapid community assessment showed that 77% of respondents request for cash assistance to restart their livelihood after the community quarantine. Many of the members or 35% would still need relief goods, especially food, immediately after the quarantine and a few or 12% need work to have source of income.

Microenterprises are resilient as shown in previous economic crises. However, pro-poor development opportunities should be designed and implemented that puts their interest and welfare first.

Part two of the community assessment will present recommendations for support during and immediately after the community quarantine. Part three will present recommendations in the long term.


Sources of information and practical tips on money management

Different kinds of investments

Preparing for retirement

How are articles on retirement

  1. 10 Commandments of retirement
  2. Mga kinakatakutan ng retirees at paano ito paghahandaan
  3. Magkano ang matatanggap mong SSS pension upon retirement

Watch videos on money management

Watch Usapang Pera episodes

Subscribe to Usapang Pera Youtube channel


Get in touch with Sir Vince

Message Sir Vince through FB messenger

Send an email to Sir Vince

Like Vince Rapisura page


Join online groups of Sir Vince

Join Usapang Pera Group

Join Sir Vince blog newsletter



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: