With a Facebook post, La Union residents saw a glimmer of hope in the form of bicycles.
Sangguniang Panlalawigan Board Member Joy Ortega and Donate A Bike, Save A Job Founder Gretchen Ho have partnered with PLDT, Smart and the PLDT-Smart Foundation to bring “happy” bikes to La Union.
Armida Rivera is from San Benito, Aringay, La Union and brought home a bike to her father Arecio Rivera who sells Balut from San Benito to Dulao in Aringay.
Selling balut is her family’s main source of income. With his new bike, Arecio can now roam the nearby barangays to sell more balut.
“I made my father the beneficiary of the bicycle. It is important for him to drive from Aringay Market to Dulao, which is 6.3 km. Kaya marami pong salamat sa simpleng handog na ito dahil hindi lang kasiyahan ang inyong binigay bagkus ito’y pag-asa and panibagong bukas na kahilingan,” Armida said.
Meanwhile, Angelie Dulay, who lives in the mountains of Manga, Aringay, La Union, dedicated the bike to her family. She said that the bike could be used by her siblings to go to school. The bike can also be used by her parents who are both farmers as they sell vegetables.
In Apatut, Balaoan, La Union, Mharjo Macaraeg Cayabyab came across the post about the happy bikes and jumped at the chance by subscribing. She brought a bike home to her 50-year-old mother, Juliet Macaraeg, who is a homemaker. Julia’s main source of income is cooking and selling merienda. With her new bike, she can now reach more barangays to sell her food.
Mitch Galano from Paratong Norte, Bangar, La Union dedicated her bike to her mother Evangeline Galano who works as a weaver. Mitch has five siblings and their father works on a construction site. Her mother sometimes walked to work. The new bike makes it easier for her to get to work.
Gracia Sobredo lived in Caba, La Union and her four children survived a fire in 2020. Gracia survived a stroke and dedicated the bike to her daughter Hera Paula Na, the family breadwinner who sells and delivers groceries at a construction site.
Meanwhile, Valery Fonseca Saclud took the bike to her 72-year-old father, Arturo Saclud, who works on a farm to take care of animals like goats. This is the family’s only source of income. With the new bike, Arturo can be transported to the fields more easily.
The Bikes for Livelihood program as part of Donate A Bike, Save A Job kicked off in 2021, where bikes were initially deployed to essential and frontline workers amid the pandemic.