Are you having trouble buying load because of the quarantine? Try the jeepalengkes. Mobile subscribers and “ka-partner” retailers can now access reloading stations even while under ECQ, thanks to the initiatives of local government units and Smart Communications, Inc (Smart).

To help make its service more widely available even under ECQ, Smart has started working with LGUs and barangay personnel as they roll out jeepalengkes or mobile stores in barangays and cities affected by the lockdown. This allows Smart, TNT, and Sun prepaid subscribers to reload their phones and buy PLDT and Smart Bro devices, whenever they buy fresh produce or supplies in the mobile markets rolled out by the city LGU.

This service was initially launched in the mega cities of Caloocan and Valenzuela, and other areas in Luzon, as well as select towns in Cebu.

Smart retailer Joy Naranpa from Caybiga, Caloocan, said that the initiative is a huge help. “I am thankful that Smart came to our area. Because of the lockdown, it has been weeks since we were able to go to the town. I was able to reload my retailer wallet,” she said.

New opportunities

Load Retailers Benefit From Smart Mobile Stores
In photo: Guerra’s rolling store

For pawnshop cashier Cathline Tumbocon from Labangon in Cebu, the mobile store gave her an avenue to start a new livelihood. She was able to buy a retailer SIM from the jeepalengke to start a small reloading business while her town is under ECQ.

“This would give me some form of income while we are under ECQ. Communication is very important during a crisis,” Tumbocon said.

Tiaong, Quezon resident Leo Guerra’s small supply business was also affected by the current health crisis. A Type 2 diabetic, he had thought of temporarily stopping his small business of supplying sari-sari stores with fast retail products. But the demand of his customers – whom he already considers as his extended family, as well as his need for income to buy his maintenance medicine changed his mind.

Using his customized owner-type jeep rolling store, Guerra has become a Smart loading ‘station’ himself, roving in the area and serving the community. He now offers load wallet credits to his sari-sari store accounts to help boost his income during the lockdown, and to make sure other load retailers have load to sell. “Our situation is hard, but if you’re willing, there’s a way, especially since I have a lot of people who depend on me,” said Guerra.

Retailers are frontliners, too

Load Retailers Benefit From Smart Mobile Stores
In photo: Smart employee Carla Bondoc with her improvised sign

Since most of the Smart and Sun retail shops across the country have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, inventory relations officer Carla Bondoc from the Smart Store in Novaliches has found a way to keep her community connected even during lockdown.

From working in the backroom of the store, she now serves as one of the telco’s frontliners when it comes to selling load.

“I thought of selling prepaid load in our area. Our neighborhood in North Caloocan is a little inaccessible due to lack of transportation available during the ECQ,” she shared. “I asked my nieces to create a sign for e-load that we can put up in front of our house,” she added. As the breadwinner of the family, she’s able to provide additional income to support her family.

“We are continuously looking for creative and innovative ways to make our services available, and at the same time support our ka-partner retailers and customers who are greatly affected by the pandemic,” said Alex O. Caeg, Senior Vice President and Head of the Consumer Sales Group at PLDT and Smart. “With the help of the national government, the local government units and barangay personnel, and our partner distributors and agents, we are here to ensure that our subscribers and their communities have access to load and connectivity during the COVID-19 crisis,” he added

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