Though the shift back to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) status in NCR and nearby provinces was rightfully done with the intent of arresting the spread of COVID-19, the detrimental effect it’s had on the economy can hardly be understated. Recent news show that the country’s economy has shrunk by 16.5% in the second quarter, officially sliding the Philippines into a recession as businesses everywhere feel the pinch of lockdowns.
Of course, a recession also means most consumers have no choice but to tighten their belts and a few companies are taking note. One of these is the homegrown super-service app MyKuya, which allows users to quickly hire a Kuya/Ate (the diminutive for their partners) to do anything from grocery delivery, run errands on a motorbike, or even help out with their small business for a day. The practicality of the app has caused demand to spike ever since the onslaught of the pandemic, with people wanting to stay home as much as possible. Initially only available in the Metro Manila area, MyKuya has expanded to Cavite, Quezon, and Zambales to meet rising demand in these areas.
Yet it’s also when they’re needed the most that MyKuya has decided to be generous. “We want to show people that we are one with them even in the face of an oncoming recession,” said MyKuya country head Dennis Bunye. “We’re taking concrete steps so that the MyKuya app is more accessible than ever.”
One thing that MyKuya has already done is to reduce the rates for a number of their most popular services. One example is their pick-up & drop service, which allows users to get a Kuya/Ate to pick up one or more packages and deliver them to one or more locations via motorbike. While this used to cost roughly PHP 150 per hour, the MECQ period will see rates drop to just PHP 99 per hour.
Another example of MyKuya lowering the rates on their services can be seen through the BizHelper and MotoToday services. BizHelper is handy for small businesses needing an additional hand with tasks like packing, sorting, and organizing. MotoToday, on the other hand, can be used by small businesses for help with tasks requiring motorcycle delivery, pick-ups or any other similar errands. Under MECQ, the minimum number of hours to avail of these services has been reduced from 6 hours to 4.
“With these new changes, users can do so much more with less,” Bunye explains. “We want people to know MyKuya is with them and willing to adjust to people’s needs even as a recession affects everybody. This is our way of doing just that, contributing to the overall bayanihan spirit gripping the country right now.”
Yet it isn’t just the users that MyKuya is extending a helping hand towards. Kuyas and Ates will now be getting a bigger portion of the payment for their services, with management unanimously deciding to minimize the cut the company takes.
As a recession gives businesses no choice but to shut down and job opportunities are hard to come by, the extra portion on their cut certainly goes a long way for MyKuya’s partners. Before the pandemic hit, many Kuyas and Ates were contractual workers working in vulnerable sectors such as retail, hotels, and tourism. For them, working with MyKuya means they won’t have to worry about how they’ll provide for their family even in the midst of MECQ.
“Kabado ako nung una kong biyahe,” admits Kuya Rey Mar Cabuyit, recalling when he first started working with MyKuya when community quarantine first took effect. “Subalit napalitan ng tuwa ang kaba dahil alam kong nakakatulong ako lalo na sa mga taong hindi makalabas ng bahay. Nagpapasalamat ako sa MyKuya dahil natutugunan ko na ngayon ang pangangailangan ng aking pamilya. I was nervous during my first journey. But this nervousness was quickly replaced by joy because I know I’m a great help to people, especially the ones who can’t leave their homes. I’m thankful to MyKuya because I can now attend to my family’s needs.)”
Though the MECQ period and the oncoming recession will certainly come with challenges, MyKuya demonstrates that everything becomes a little easier to handle with a bit of flexibility and bayanihan spirit. From upper management down to the Kuyas and Ates going out each day, MyKuya is proof of what can happen when everyone does their bit.