MANILA -- The lockdown has made it difficult for Filipino families to go about their lives. But while some could afford staying at home for a number of days with basic necessities, others consider it a privilege.
Many people below the poverty line live on a day to day basis.
Tricycle drivers, in particular, are among those having difficulties these days since public transport operations are prohibited.
In San Pablo City, Laguna alone, around 5,000 are registered tricycle drivers while around 10,000 include those without a franchise.
With no regular source of income, how are tricycle drivers coping with the lockdown?
Kate Ramil, Sari Lazaro, and Regine Guevara thought they could help them in their own little way.
“Pandemic is not as scary as callousness. Apathy has condemned more deaths than a virus. If we want us to survive any crisis or pandemic, we have to act as if every single person in our community is a loved one: be it a taho vendor, a street sweeper, or a trike driver. We also need to act with a sense of urgency. When you can’t find a leader, be one,” Kate told ABS-CBN News.
Organizing a physical fund drive could be a challenge, but it was not the only way to do it. The trio started a crowdfunding project called "Save A Trike."
They want to help the tricycle drivers and their families in their neighborhood in San Pablo City, Laguna and Mandaluyong.
The three women put up a gofundme account and shared a link on Facebook along with an open message to anyone.
My friends and I are raising funds to help the tricycle drivers and their families in Mandaluyong and San Pablo City. They are one of the most vulnerable groups affected by the lockdown. Please help us help them. Your contribution is much appreciated.
Should you have questions or need details, please get in touch with me.
Let's fight covid-19 any which way we can. Let's win this war. “
And so they patiently waited.
“When we set up ‘Save A Trike’ last Thursday, 26 March, on gofundme.com, that night we received P85,000 from our family and friends! What is so amazing is that we also get donations from people who don’t know us personally and just read about us on Facebook or Twitter. They are being generous not only to the sector we promised to accommodate but to us as well, for trusting us and for having faith in us,” Kate said.
Donations continued to shower. In a span of 24 hours, they raised P150,000.
Kate, Sari, and Regine immediately started their process, talked with the local tricycle drivers and operators association, and identified beneficiaries. They gave P1,000 to tricycle drivers in San Pablo City first, then in Mandaluyong.
They hope the cash assistance can help alleviate the burden carried by the families.
“They are surprised mostly and, of course, very grateful. They have no idea that there are people who are willing to help them. They are not the usual benefactors of donations,” Kate said.
The friends have bigger dreams for their initiative. They hope to partner with LGUs to develop a sustainable program for the tricycle drivers’ wives.
"Save A Trike" is still open for donations. They want to help at least 500 families. You may find them at their Facebook page: Save A Trike or their website: www.gofundme.com/saveatrike. You may also email them at email@example.com.