BOUNCING BACK IN PEDALS:
Free bike beneficiaries from Manila thankful to DOLE
The gloomy weather condition had momentarily made way for the 256 beneficiaries of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Free Bisikleta Project, during its ceremonial launching in Intramuros on October 26, 2020 together with the representatives from the City Government of Manila.
And it did not bother the beneficiaries such as Myra Francisco, Cyrel Roz, and Manny Barranda as it was a symbolic day to bounce back and continue their livelihood undertaking amid the COVID-induced job crisis and public utility vehicle restrictions that affected all Filipinos.
“Pandagdag kita, kasi may bike na ako at pwede ko magamit just in case may mag-order sa akin. Dati kasi nilalakad ko lang para mabigay ko yung mga order ng mga customer ko nung nag-community quarantine. Ngayon ay mapapabilis ko na ang pag-deliver dahil marunong naman ako mag-bike,” said Myra Francisco, 46 years old from Santa Cruz, Manila, who is a seller of cosmetic products, clothing, and other accessories for men and women. She also looked forward to the DOLE’s partnership with Grab and LalaFood and said that she is open for any delivery service requests.
It was also an opportunity for Cyrel Roz, 23 years old from Tondo, Manila, who needs a source of income to help his family.
“Gusto ko makatulong sa parents ko at sa lola ko na may sakit para makabili ng gamot. Pa-sideline-sideline lang kasi ako gaya ng online selling. Nung lockdown nagkaroon ako ng chance magtinda ng face shield, face mask, tapos mga shorts, at mga damit na panlalaki at pambabae. Nung nalaman ko na may ganitong program ang DOLE, nagtanong ako how to apply at nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataon para maging isa sa beneficiary. Kaya makakatulong po itong bike sa akin. Magagamit ko itong bike na ito as Grab or LalaFood driver kasi walang akong hanapbuhay at yung parents ko hirap ngayon lalo na ngayong pandemic,” he said.
Soon-to-be father Manny Barranda, 23 years old from Tondo, Manila, also looked forward to any of the delivery service requests from Grab and LalaFood.
“Wala po kasi akong trabaho; ang pinagkakakitaan lang po namin ay ang magtinda ng barbeque, mga tuhog-tuhog po, ihaw. Kaya po nagpapasalamat ako sa DOLE kasi isa po ako sa napili para mabigyan ng ganitong opportunity para magkaroon ng sariling hanapbuhay. Malaking bagay po itong bisikleta kasi kung sakaling manganak na po yung asawa ko, meron po akong ipon kahit konti para mabuhay ko yung magiging pamilya ko,” he said.
Meanwhile, prior to receiving the livelihood project, the 256 beneficiaries were enrolled to an insurance coverage under the GSIS Group Personal Accident Insurance (GPAI) and went through the DOLE’s Social Preparation Training, which covered Basic Bike Safety seminar in partnership with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). To help sustain their entrepreneurial venture, the beneficiaries also attended learning sessions on simple book keeping, productivity, savings, and other relevant training in partnership with the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) of the City Government of Manila.
Regional Director Sarah Buena S. Mirasol acknowledged the efforts of the DOLE-NCR team in the regional and field offices, Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC), DOLE Central Office, including partners from the local government units through its PESO, and company partners Grab and LalaFood for the successful conduct of the FreeBis project.
“Gusto ko pong pasalamatan lahat ng tumulong sa launching na ito—it’s a team effort! Sa tulong po nila, we were able to deliver sa konting panahon na ibinigay sa atin. Maraming salamat po sa lahat ng inyong tulong,” she said.
END / Hershey Aquino with report from Ernest Aranda