Discovering a sikad driver’s unexpected weapon against COVID-19

By:

96239844_579288529357950_7351052087217618944_n

Mr. Macud is a pedicab driver, or sikad, as it is locally called in the community of Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte. 

Volunteers from the KAPAMAGUGOPA Donation drive distributes hand-outs to sikad drivers in Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte. The hand-outs contain information about COVID-19 and its prevention.

At the age of 40, Mr. Macud is more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. But being the sole provider of his family of two, he has no choice but  to work. They don’t have any children and yet, they are still having a hard time making ends meet with his income. It even worsened when the Enhanced Community Quarantine was implemented. 

Rice, fish, and soap are just some of the basic commodities they had a hard time availing due to the social and economic consequences of this global health crisis.

Although he was issued a quarantine pass that allowed him to drive his sikad around the municipality, his income has been greatly affected due to the dwindling number of passengers because of the fear of getting infected with the virus. 

When asked if he knows what COVID-19 is; how a person can get infected; and what precautionary measures should be taken to avoid it; he said he doesn’t have any idea at all because he doesn’t watch the news nor does he have easy access to it.

The KAPAMAGUGOPA Donation Drive is distributing family bags containing rice, sardines, canned goods, bread, noodles, vegetables, etc., to sikad drivers and their families.

Mr. Albacia is another sikad driver and father to 6 children. All of which are still students. He is 51 years old, another high-risk individual, and the sole provider for his family. 

When asked how their living conditions have been affected by this pandemic, he says, “Lisod kayo. Gamay nalang income kay gamay ang pasahero. Galisod mig palit ug pagkaon ug sabon.” (It’s very hard nowadays. My income has gotten less due to the lesser number of passengers. We have a hard time buying food and soap.). 

Isang kahig, isang tuka’ is a Filipino expression which means just having enough to get by for the day. Like Mr. Albacia, this pandemic has left families dependent on daily wages at risk of losing even their most basic rights: food security, education, and access to health care. 

With no clear guidelines or cure in sight, who knows how much more they have until their resources run out?

Fortunately, Mr. Albacia  is aware of the importance of wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and doing handwashing. Although he still calls COVID-19 as NCOV. This may just be basic knowledge, for most but for some of our fellow brothers and sisters, this limited information is the only defense they have to prepare and protect themselves against COVID-19.

The youth volunteers of KAPAMAGUGOPA pose for the camera as a sign of thanks to the donors.

In our team, we believe information is a vital form of aid especially for those with higher risk of poverty and social exclusion than the general population. It strengthens the defense system of a community against any form of crisis. 

But not everyone has access to basic health care or proper information. Hence, we decided to give out COVID-19 Infographics in Bisaya along with our relief operations. A small and simple act to ensure that no one gets left behind in our fight against COVID-19. (By Omayyah Macabato for Kapit-Mindanao)

The #SKLSeries (Share Ko Lang) aims to share stories of hope and inspiration written by the youth beneficiaries of Kapit-Mindanao themselves.

We’re raising P1 million for 20 communications all over Mindanao. Help us reach that goal! To donate, go to bit.ly/KapitDonate now!

Posted in

1 Comment

  1. […] Jon chose to use a bicycle as his means of transportation to go around Mindoro and raise awareness about the climate crisis because cycling reduces his […]

Leave a Comment