The Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) through MUNTAPARLAS Field Office (MTPLFO) and in partnership with the City Government of Muntinlupa’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO) held the BikeCINATION Project awarding together with the distribution of Rice Retailing (Bigasan) Livelihood Packages for the 53 fully vaccinated workers and economically-deprived residents on October 5, 2021 at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex, Tunasan, Muntinlupa City.

The DOLE’s BikeCINATION Project is an innovative incentive strategy for fully vaccinated informal workers in the A4 category to support the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic through increased vaccination and also stimulate the economy through provision of alternative sources of income to Filipino workers.

The beneficiaries included parents of child laborers, selected recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), beneficiaries of the local Joint Resource Financing Program (JRFP), and youth entrepreneurs under the Youth Affairs and Sports Development Office (YASDO).

Of total number of beneficiaries, 28 were fully vaccinated indigent residents from Muntinlupa City who each received bicycle units under the DOLE BikeCINATION project with complete accessories such as water bottle (with holder), fog light (front light), rear light, helmet, raincoat, thermal / insulation bag, vest, and android mobile phones with P5,000 worth of electronic load wallet, totaling to P20,000 grant per individual.

Meanwhile, the remaining 25 individuals are parents of child laborers who each received a Bigasan Livelihood Package to kick start their rice-retailing business and help improve their household income. During the event, DOLE-NCR MTPLFO Director Leonides P. Castillon, Jr. emphasized the importance of targeting the parents of child laborers to combat such persisting societal problem. With the DOLE’s Bigasan Project, he said that this will allow parents of child laborers to venture in retailing business that can improve their family’s financial situation. He added that with an improved economic condition and increased earnings of marginalized families would permit better future to their children, put an end to child labor, and bring them back to school.

Full-time micro-entrepreneur Elizabeth Catindig expressed the struggles she faced brought about by the prevailing health crisis and shared the benefits of the social amelioration programs of the government. According to her, the COVID-19 adversely affected her online business due to transportation constraints; hence, she felt that the DOLE BikeCINATION Project would support her business.

“Noong nagka-pandemic talagang naapektuhan ang business namin dahil di naman ako makapunta ng Divisoria para makabili ng gamit. Nahirapan talaga ako at sa kalaunan, nagkaroon pa ng Delta variant ng COVID-19. Nagpapasalamat ako sa DOLE at gobyerno ng Muntinlupa sa mga programa na nilulunsad nila sa mga mamamayan ng Muntinlupa. Ito po ay malaking tulong sa akin. Dahil kung mayroon akong kailangan sa business ko, hindi ko na kailangan maglakad pa papuntang bayan dahil nandito na yung bisikleta ko,” said Catindig.

Congressman Ruffy Biazon also graced the activity and extended his support to the program while City Administrator, Engr. Allan Cachuela and DOLE-NCR Regional Director, Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol conveyed their messages of support through a video message. Other officials in attendance were Muntinlupa City PESO Manager Glenda Z. Aniñon; Tourism, Culture and the Arts Department (TCAD) head Juvy Engo; YASDO head Cynthia Viacrusis; City Cooperative head, Atty. Nemei Santiago; SSD head Analyn A. Mercado; and JRFP acting head Maylene Viñas.

The labor department’s emergency and livelihood assistance programs alleviate the immense impact of the pandemic on workers and give them an opportunity to start their own businesses to augment their family income amidst the pandemic.

END / Christinne Jeremiah Torrecampo and Mary Chelsea Espinosa