BOUNCING BACK IN PEDALS:
Free bike beneficiaries from Muntinlupa, Taguig, Parañaque, Las Piñas thankful to DOLE
The uncertainty of the new normal did not stop the beneficiaries of the labor department’s free bike aid from starting or sustaining their entrepreneurial venture amid the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the suspension of public transportation, majority of the Filipinos across the National Capital Region (NCR) have turn to bikes not just to satisfy the need for mobility or keep a healthy lifestyle but rather out of necessity to ensure that every household have a source of income to feed their family, apart from paying off monthly bills.
And it has been a way of life for the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) 132 Free Bisikleta (FreeBis) beneficiaries in Muntinlupa, Taguig, Parañaque, and Las Piñas.
For Clarita Ramos, 59 years old from Muntinlupa City, the free bike aid she received from DOLE will finally allow her to personally deliver her home-cooked meals for clients amid mobility restrictions.
“Simulat-sapul, ang hanapbuhay ko ay ang pagtitinda ng mga niluluto kong pagkain. Malaking tulong po itong bisikleta dahil magagamit ko ito sa pagde-deliver ng pagkain. Malaking bagay din po yung cellphone dahil matatawagan ko yung mga customer ko kapag gusto nila mag-order ng pagkain sa akin,” said Ramos.
As a solo-parent, Lolito Miranda, Jr. from Las Piñas City had to work harder to make ends meet for his family. When his employer had to implement flexible work arrangements, he was instructed to report for work at only 3 days per week. With not enough money to feed his three children, Miranda turned to online selling of goods to boost his income. Before he received the free bike aid from DOLE, he used to borrow a bicycle from a friend to deliver orders from customers.
“Nalaman ko yung FreeBis kasi hinikayat ako ng aking boss na isa rin sa mga regular customers ko sa aking pag-oonline business. Yung una kong bisikletang ginagamit ay hiram ko lang sa mga ka-tropa ko para makapagdeliver ako ng biskwit. Nagbebenta rin ako ng face mask, face shield at kung anu-ano pang mga pwede pagkakitaan. Kaya malaking bagay itong proyektong ito ng DOLE lalo na sa akin bilang isang solo parent dahil may mga anak akong kailangan suportahan at dapat kong masiguro na may pambili ng pagkain sa pang-araw araw, pati pambayad sa kuryente at tubig,” said Miranda.
Dibolawan Imam, 51 years old, had to seek help from her 8 children to sell fruits and pillowcases along the streets of Taguig City to cover their family’s basic needs and pay for her children’s school fees. With no other options to continue their livelihood undertaking due to existing travel limitations, the FreeBis project was an opportune time to recover.
“Malaking tulong ito sa akin at sa mga anak ko dahil hindi sila makapagtrabaho. Minsan nagtitinda sila ng prutas eh wala silang masakyan. Ako naman ay nagsa-side walk vendor ng mga punda (pillowcases). Minsan may nag-order sa akin eh wala naman masakyan mga anak ko para ma-deliver yung mga order,” said Imam.
Former cook and part-time massage therapist, Job Nieto Ontoria, 42 years old from Parañaque City also turned to online selling to help his family when he lost his job. The timing of the DOLE’s free bike would help him sustain his small business.
“Kailangan ko po talaga ng bike na pang-deliver para po sa mga online orders at malaki po ang maitutulong nito para sa aking food delivery. Sana po ay maipagpatuloy pa po ng DOLE ang ganitong proyekto para makinabang rin yung iba pang katulad ko na nangangailangan,” said Ontoria.
Meanwhile, the 132 FreeBis livelihood assistance were distributed during the awarding ceremony of DOLE-NCR MUNTAPARLAS Field Office in partnership with the Public Employment Service Offices of local government units on October 26-27, 2020 with 22 awarded in Muntinlupa, 44 in Taguig, 44 in Parañaque, and 22 in Las Piñas as separately held in their respective areas.
The bicycle unit comes with a helmet, raincoat, water bottle, thermal bag, reflectorized vest, bicycle rack, cellphone unit (android) with an e-loading wallet worth P5,000.
MUNTAPARLAS Field Office Director Leonides P. Castillon, Jr. said that the beneficiaries were enrolled to an insurance coverage under the GSIS Group Personal Accident Insurance (GPAI) and went through the Social Preparation Training before they received their livelihood undertaking.
“Sumailalim din ang ating mga beneficiaires ng kasanayan sa basic safety and health standards, traffic regulations, simple book keeping, productivity at other relevant training sa pamumuno ng ating Public Employment Service Office na nakipag-ugnayan sa Metro Manila Development Authority at ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan,” he said.
During the post-implementation phase, the beneficiaries will also receive continuing technical and business advisory services to ensure the sustainability of the project.
DOLE-NCR Assistant Regional Director Russel A. Jallorina also joined the ceremonial turnover of bikes together with DOLE Assistant Secretary Victor A. Del Rosario, local chief executives and PESO representatives.
END / Hershey Aquino with reports from Eritza Barbado-Molea and Christinne Jeremiah Torrecampo