CALOOCAN CITY, Oct. 27 (PIA) - Some 44 Valenzuelano benefited from the Department of Labor & Employment's free bike program'
The beneficiaries who are from the informal work sector receive free bicycles and Android mobile phones at the Valenzuela City People's Park Amphitheater through the City's Public Employment Services Office (PESO) Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
The 44 bikes, which are intended to be used by delivery riders, make up the initial 850 bicycle units that will be distributed to the recipients chosen by DOLE's partner local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila.
In Valenzuela City, parents and guardians of children under the legal age who are already working, identified delivery riders of the City's Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) sector and street vendors are among the beneficiaries of the bicycle unit package.
A 2019 survey conducted by the Valenzuela City's PESO revealed a growing number of child labourers in the areas of Barangays Malinta and Malanday. These children either help their parents sell goods in marketplaces or support their families through scavenging.
As the pandemic has sidelined the market operations, many of the parents and guardians of young workers were rendered jobless. Because of this, they are among the beneficiaries of the government's bike for business project.
Delivery riders of SMMEs listed in the City's very own Valenzuela Online Palengke Facebook group were also identified as beneficiaries and are in turn given the chance to choose, nominate, or refer other potential delivery riders. Balut, kakanin, and street vendors are also among those selected to receive the bike and mobile phone bundle.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Bernardo Capellan of Barangay Ugong, shares that "Dati po akong laborer sa construction. Nangangalakal ng basura ang anak ko... Ang binigay po sa'kin ng DOLE na bisikleta, makakatulong sa akin sa pagtitinda at pagde-deliver ng balut."
He continues to narrate, "Nang dumaan sa amin ang pandemiya, nawalan kami ng trabaho. Nahirapan kaming humanap ng pagkikitaan ko. Nagtitinda po ako ng mga ice cream sa sulok... Pag kumita naman ako sa amin, may pera din ako. Minsan umaabot ng PhP 150. Binibili namin ng bigas. Ginagawa namin sa bigas, tuyo lang ang ulam. [Minsan] lugaw pa ang ginagawa namin para dumami ang aming kakainin. Makakain lang kami lahat...."
Despite his age, Mr. Capellan still wishes to help his children who are still in school, "Nagpapasalamat po ako sa DOLE at sa PESO na sila po ang nakatulong po sa amin para magkaroon po ng hanapbuhay," he said.
The FreeBis bikes come fully equipped with a helmet, raincoat, vest, water bottle, and a thermal bag. Beneficiaries will also receive an Android mobile phone with a Php 5,000 load, which can also be for electronic loading or e-loading purposes.
Ms. Josephine Osea, Manager of PESO Valenzuela City, expressed her gratitude to DOLE for the FreeBis project saying, "The COVID-19 pandemic has made delivery service an essential service... And we are thankful to DOLE for this free bicycle project for giving us an opportunity to ride the trend and create jobs for more people. At the same time, we are able to help our small entrepreneurs to further widen their market and increase their customer base because they now have additional riders."
Mayor REX Gatchalian also urged the new bike owners to take care of their bicycles as they are now part of the new normal and are vital in their everyday lives and businesses.
For her part, DOLE Field Director Rowena V. Grande lauded the City Government's effort to provide employment to the displaced workers and reiterated DOLE's commitment to help, "Ang DOLE, pati ang PESO at ang City Government of Valenzuela, ang gusto po natin maging parte ng solusyon at hindi po tayo maging parte ng problema. Magtulungan po tayo. Makakaahon din tayo," she concluded.
The FreeBis project is just one of DOLE's many initiatives to curb unemployment and offer job and livelihood opportunities to formal and informal workers drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among those present during the awarding and turnover ceremonies are Valenzuela City Mayor REX Gatchalian, PESO Manager Ms. Josephine Osea and staff, and DOLE Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela (CAMANAVA) Field Director Rowella V. Grande.(Valenzuela PIO/PIA-NCR)