As the most densely populated city in the world, Metro Manila was placed under full quarantine on March 16th, followed soon after by the rest of the Philippines. Over just six weeks, many have suffered the loss of jobs and daily wages, and many entrepreneurs and businessowners have been required to close doors until further notice.
Josephine Locsin—Sister Jojie for most of us—is one of those businessowners. She also serves as a board member of Katuwang Resource Centre, an LCI serving over 12,000 urban entrepreneurs and farmers with microloans, mentoring, and training in Bacolod City and other towns and rural communities in Negros Occidental province.
Employing more than 40 people in artisanal crafts, over the past two decades, Sister Jojie’s calling has been to create jobs by empowering artisans and embracing Filipino creativity through innovative home furnishings and furniture made of indigenous natural resources. She also demonstrates an enduring faith, rising early each morning to pray and prepare with God for the day ahead.
When the quarantine began, I (Jackie) sent a message to the LCI leaders, BA members, and other partners throughout the Southeast Asia region.
Sister Jojie replied:
“Thank you for your very encouraging words of comfort to all of us. Negros Occidental is one of the least hit provinces in the Philippines so far—by God’s grace. Still, we are as much affected by this enhanced quarantine just like the rest of our country.
My business, Tumandok Crafts Industries, had moved from a rotation work schedule in early March to a temporary closure of operation now. There are 44 employees on the team.
We were living on a day-to-day basis even before COVID-19, so I leave the matter entirely in the Lord’s hands for the destiny of our company. For sure, home décor gifts or souvenir items are far from the minds of the people globally right now under crisis. May the Lord provide us direction and strategy on how we can survive still as a company.
Today, we celebrated the 23rd anniversary of Tumandok on our last working day before the factory’s temporary closure. After our staff Bible study, we had a simple thanksgiving lunch. I also gave a souvenir plaque to each team member with Psalm 91 in it. COVID-19 cannot stop us from honoring God with our theme: "Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done" (1 Chronicles 16:8).
Let me end this letter with a quote from Romans 8:28: "And we know that ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called ACCORDING to His PURPOSE."
I do believe something good will still come out of this situation we are all in. Our faiths will be strengthened even more and there will be many who will come out and testify of the goodness of God.
Since God is the owner of my business, my real Boss, He will direct my steps.”