As millions are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, businesses had to close, schools had to shift modes of teaching, and individuals had lost their jobs. The health crisis has affected the Philippine economy and society so badly that the unemployment rate reached an all-time high of 7.3 million jobless, and the economy went into recession because of the quarantines in place.
But as the curve is now flattening, many are looking to apply for new work and get back on their feet even amid the health crisis. To support these individuals, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will be launching a new program that will provide Filipinos with bikes for free.
Initially set at 900 bikes, DOLE says that they would want to give displaced workers new bikes so they could potentially apply to become delivery service riders and have a source of income despite the pandemic. (Read: An Angkas Rider’s Daily Hustle Amid Pandemic)
“Dahil nagkaroon nga po ng bicycle boom bunsod ng COVID-19, naisip din po ni [DOLE] Secretary [Silvestre] Bello na bigyan ‘yung ating displaced workers, particularly po ‘yung nasa informal sector na naapektuhan o nawalan ng kabuhayan, magbibigay po ng bisikleta. But this time po ito po ay pang-negosyo,” said Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns Director Karina Perida-Trayvilla.
Free Biking Gear and Road Safety Trainings
She added that aside from the bikes, the DOLE will also be giving free helmets, cellphones, load wallets, and other important safety and work equipment to the beneficiaries. They will also undergo free training on road safety and traffic regulations to ensure that they are prepared to take on deliveries. (Read: Gretchen Ho Champions ‘Bike to Work,’ Gives Away 50 Bicycles)
DOLE added that they thought of this initiative as there has been a surge in demand for delivery riders as online businesses are prevalent during these times. They have also partnered with Grab and Lalamove for this program.