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Sikad drivers hit by Covid-19 crisis

LALA, Lanao del Norte – Mandated to take off-road due to modified enhanced community quarantine caused by the rising cases of Covid-19 in Barangay Maranding, sikad drivers were left with no choice but to ober the new normal rules imposed by national and local laws. 

Cornelio Dela Cerna, 48, who has been cycling around the community since 1997 said that even before the transporation halt, he has not picked up enough passengers to reach his average quota he used to have pre-pandemic. 

“Lisod uy, atong lockdown diri na gipapahuway mi ug biyahe lisod jud. Dako kaayong epekto sa among pankonsumo sa pamilya. Hinuon nakadawat mig ayuda ato 12 kilos na bugas, 1 kilo bulad, 1 kilo munggos, 2 ka lata na corned beef gikan sa barangay,” he shared. 

He further expressed that the relief goods they received from the local government were budgeted to fit the span of the two-week rest. 
“Gi budget jud namo ang ayuda kay 12 kilos ra gud unya sulod sa 14 days na wala mi biyahe, kailangan jud namo siyang iguon kay wala mi kita, wala mi pamalit ug pagkonsumo,” he said. 

Nonetheless, he was still thankful for the assistance given to them and said that it was better than to receive nothing. 
Wilson Villarin, 58, also shared the same sentiment as he complained about how the pandemic slashed off their everyday earning. 

“Apiki jud among panginabuhi ron. Naubos jud ang among pagpanikad gumikan sa panahon sa pagsugod sa pandemya hantod karon, wala pajud kausaban kay wala pa man kaayo tawo na manggawas,” said Villarin while he was patiently waiting for passengers.

Moreover, Gregorio Gimena, a sikad driver for 15 years mentioned that most drivers within the community usually have an earning of Php. 500 and above. But since the start of pandemic when passengers and transportations were discouraged to go out and operate, the income plunged down to Php. 200.   
“Lahi sauna ang among pagbiyahe diri sa Maranding. Sauna makaabot pa mi ug Php. 500 ug kung tingsakay masobra pa. Karon mga nasa Php. 200 nalang kay mingaw pa ang tawo ron, hinay ang sakay,” he stated. 

He further shared that he was more worried for the sikad drivers who have families to support because he himself who has none, could already feel the struggle caused by the pandemic. 

    On the lighter side, youth initiatives with the aim to help sikad drivers in Barangay Maranding are starting to kick off.  
An initiative spearheaded by Nathanielle Keith Penaso, a nursing student from Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology will be opening a donation drive that will be accepting monetary and in-kind donations like clothing and groceries any time in December. She said that the drive is to support sikad drivers who are one of the people greatly affected by the crisis by giving them necessary groceries for the daily consumption. ###

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