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[3] BOUNCING BACK IN PEDALS: Free bike recipients thankful to DOLE
Free bike beneficiaries from Quezon City thankful to DOLE
New opportunities for livelihood had been awarded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in another part of the Metropolitan Manila, and this time for the 144 beneficiaries of the Free Bisikleta (FreeBis) Project in Quezon City.
Out of the 144 beneficiaries, 12 are parents of child laborers who were awarded with FreeBis livelihood assistance during the first day launching of DOLE in its main office at Intramuros on October 26, 2020 while the remaining 132 beneficiaries on October 27, 2020 at Quezon City Hall in four (4) batches as composed of former Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and locally displaced workers due to pandemic. 
With the provision of new bikes, beneficiaries also anticipate to become one of the delivery riders of partner companies Grab and LalaFood following the signing of a memorandum of agreement with the labor department during the first day launching.
Juditha Pacinabo (Photo: Eilaine Lumagbas)
Juditha Pacinabo, a solo parent of two children and a former part-time housekeeper, said she will try her best to learn more about the Grab and LalaFood application, which would benefit her soon when she receive delivery service request.  
“Nag-stop ako sa pag part-time housekeeper kasi nahirapan kami—wala kaming masakyan. Sa ngayon, ang ginagawa ko po ay naglalako ng paninda; kung ano lang po ang mapagkakitaan ko para sa pang araw-araw naming mag-iina. Napakalaking tulong ng ibinigay sa amin ng DOLE kasi pandagdag ito sa aking negosyo. Ito po yung panimula naming mag-iina,” she said.  
(L-R) Jefferson Tero and Jerry Aquino (Photo: Eilaine Lumagbas)
Displaced workers, Jefferson Tero  and Jerry Aquino also looked forward to becoming one of the delivery riders of Grab and LalaFood to earn an income for their family needs. 
“Kailangan ko maging ma-diskarte para mapalago ko yung livelihood assistance na binigay sa akin. Kapag naka-ipon na ako ng sapat, mag-tatayo rin ako ng tindahan,” said Tero, a displaced glass installer and a father of three children from Quezon City.
Laura Pascual (Photo: Eilaine Lumagbas)
Former domestic worker in Hong Kong turned sari-sari store owner, a mother of four children, and a self-declared “plantita,” Laura Pascual said that the bike she received from DOLE would help her deliver plants and home cooked meals requested by her customers. 
“Mahirap mag-deliver ng wala kang sariling sasakyan. Nung nag-quarantine na-dedeliver lang sa barangay namin kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa DOLE kasi nagkaroon sila ng ganitong klaseng pagtulong sa aming mga dating OFW,” she said.
DOLE-NCR Quezon City Field Office held its FreeBis awarding ceremony on October 27, 2020 in coordination with the PESO of Quezon City LGU. (Photos: Eilaine Lumagbas)
In his message of support during the awarding ceremony, DOLE-NCR Quezon City OIC-Director Joel P. Petaca encouraged the beneficiaries to persevere in their efforts in sustaining the livelihood undertaking amid the challenges brought by the pandemic and to observe the bike safety and health protocols of the government, which was one of the topics discussed during Social Preparation Training for the identified beneficiaries prior to receiving their FreeBis livelihood assistance.   
“Ang araw na ito ay nagpapatunay na kahit anong pagsubok ang dumating sa atin ay kaya nating labanan at kaya nating solusyunan. Maraming nawalan ng trabaho pero hindi ibig sabihin na hihinto rin ang buhay natin. Nandito po ang DOLE katuwang po ang ating lokal na pamahalaan ng Quezon City upang bigyan kayo ng livelihood. Magiging masaya po kami kung makikita namin na mapapalago ninyo o mapapakinabangan ninyo ang binigay na bisikleta,” he said.
DOLE Assistant Secretary Federico Abuan and OSHC Deputy Executive Director, Engr. Jose Maria S. Batino also joined the ceremonial turnover of bikes together with Quezon City local government officials and PESO representatives. END / Hershey Aquino with report from Eilaine Lou Lumagbas
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