• It’s not just a bike and a phone, it’s livelihood opportunity for the poor
• The project was initiated by the Department of Labor and Employment’s Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program
• Qualified citizens are given a bicycle, mobile phone and load to expand their businesses
By FAITH ARGOSINO
Providing livelihood to the unemployed comes in many forms, the most recent of which is a project called “Bikecination.”
As the name implies, the program initiated by the Department of Labor and Employment under its Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program provides a bicycle to a qualified applicant who can use it for delivery and food services, with a mobile phone to engage in e-loading business.
One of the 100 project beneficiaries in Caloocan is Carol Elinon, a street food vendor who sells honey. She was given a bike, mobile phone, and P5,000 load allowance which has expanded her livelihood.
Launched by the DOLE in September this year, several local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila have already distributed the said benefits to applicants who qualify for the program. The initiative is funded by DOLE as part of its program in partnership with LGUs within the National Capital Region, which select the beneficiaries.
In a phone interview with Manila Bulletin, Elinon narrated that when she heard about the initiative, she went to Deparo Barangay Hall and asked an official how to apply.
“Pumunta po ako sa barangay, nagtanong po muna ako sa kagawad namin anong gagawin […] pwede daw ako mag-apply. So pumunta ako ng Caloocan City Hall, pagdating ko doon may naginterview sa akin sinabi ko po yung estado ng pamumuhay namin (I went to our barangay hall and asked our kagawad what to do […] she told me that I may apply. I went to Caloocan City Hall, and someone interviewed me and asked about our status in life),” Elinon said.
An essential requirement is that the applicant should be vaccinated. Elinon said that aside from a vaccination card, other requirements she submitted to the Public Employment Service (PESO) were a valid ID and a Certificate of Indigency, also known as Certificate of Low Income.
According to the street food vendor, the waiting process took two weeks before the official list of Bikecination Program beneficiaries came out. With a chuckle in her voice, Elinon admitted that she did not expect to be included on the list.
“Hindi ko inexpect, kasi yung iba hindi po sila napili kagaya ng kapitbahay namin, basta nagapply ako at hindi ko po malalaman na natanggap ako kung hindi sinabi ng kapitbahay ko (I didn’t expect to be chosen. I only knew that I qualified when a neighbor told me),” she said.
She was so happy about being qualified for the Bikecinnation project that she posted photos of her and the bike and phone with her expression of gratitude. She was given the items during the Bikecination Project Awarding Ceremony last Oct. 18.
The awarding ceremony was led by DOLE Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello with Caloocan City Mayor Oscar “Oca” Malapitan at the Buena Park covered court.
Elinon and her family currently use the bike to run errands and make deliveries of her products. On the other hand, her new phone for e-loading business is also being used by her child for their online classes.
“Yung bike nagagamit namin kapag may kailangan bilhin at pag ihahatid yung mga paninda ko, yung load na-be-benta ko na, tapos yung phone hindi lang para sa business pang online [class] din ng anak ko (We use the bike for buying things and delivering the goods that I sell, I’m also starting to sell the load allowance, and aside from business purposes, my child uses the mobile phone for online class),” she said.
Aside from Caloocan City, the DOLE and the Makati City local government distributed 56 bicycles with helmets, water tumblers, cellphones, and a P5,000 load allowance to city residents.
In Muntinlupa, 28 fully vaccinated residents received a bicycle with a carrier bag, water tumbler, headgear, rear and front light, vest, a raincoat, and a P5,000 load allowance.
Similar items were given to San Juan City beneficiaries by the local government unit led by San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora, who also distributed a P20,000 livelihood package.