Cayetano brings listening tour to empanada makers


REELECTIONIST Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano eats a Vigan empanada that he prepared during a campaign stop at Plaza Burgos in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. Richard Balonglong / INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

VIGAN CITY—Reelectionist Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Saturday stopped at the stalls selling empanada (meat and cabbage fritter) at Plaza Burgos here not only to taste the delicacy but to engage vendors in his advocacy of PTK (presyo, trabaho, kita, or price, jobs and income).

Cayetano, who is running with the administration Team PNoy, tried cooking empanada and later sat down with about

15 empanada and ukoy (shrimp fritter) vendors at the plaza for his “listening tour.”

By listening to their stories, Cayetano said he learned the concerns of the country’s ordinary laborers and wage earners.

Joela Ponciano, 43, of Barangay Pantay Daya here, said empanada vendors considered summer the peak season because of the festivals being staged in Ilocos Sur’s heritage city.

While Ponciano said many stall owners would earn between P15,000 and P20,000 a day during the peak season, they had to deduct the P7,000 capital and wages of their employees from the day’s earnings, leaving them little profit.

Ponciano said empanada makers found it hard to earn during the lean season, when the city does not host festivals or big conventions and seminars.

“We are then forced to go 5-6,” she said, referring to loan sharks.

Ponciano said they would repay a P5,000 loan, with an interest of P1,000, in 45 days, through daily collections by the lender.

Cayetano raised the possibility of the national government coming to their aid by offering capital with minimal interest.

In his talk with the vendors, Cayetano said he would prioritize legislation that would support education to help low-income families.

He said tuition alone eats up 30 percent of a family’s budget for education, while the rest goes to miscellaneous fees and other school expenses.  Leoncio Balbin Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon

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