Driver-beneficiary thankful to PGIN's free ride service


Apr. 18, 2020 ...

With the suspension of mass and public transportation amid the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat, thousands of public transport drivers in Ilocos Norte suffer a tremendous loss of income.

Mr. Jason Ligsay, a public utility vehicle (PUV) driver from the Municipality of San Nicolas, said he was a bit dismayed when the national government declared the Luzon-wide suspension of transport network services.

"Ana ngarud iserbimi ti pamiliami? Nu agpasadakami met, matiliwkami."

[What will we provide for our family? If we attempt to operate, we will be caught (by persons in authority.)]

He cannot afford to stay at home for he needs to earn money and feed his family.

In a bid to bring an employment opportunity to displaced workers, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte through Metro Ilocos Norte Council (MINC) hired jeepney and bus drivers to provide free transportation services for health personnel, medical patients, and other COVID-19 frontliners.

As one of the fortunate driver–beneficiaries of the "Libre a Pagluganan" Program, Mr. Ligsay expressed: 

"Idi inbagada nga adda programa ti MINC, immaykami sigud. Dakkel a pagyamananmi ti Govierno Provinsial ta talaga nga awan koma ti inaldaw-aldaw nga income-mi nu awan daytoy a free service.

[When they informed us about the MINC Program, we came immediately. We are truly thankful to the Provincial Government for we have nothing to earn daily, and our concern is responded through this free service.]

"Napintas daytoy 'Libre a Pagluganan' kasi saan laeng a dakami a drivers ti matulunganna nu ketdi pati dagiti frontliners-tayo," he added.

[This free ride service is essential not only to us, drivers who will benefit from it but also to all of our frontliners.]

Aside from a subsidized diesel, driver-beneficiaries of the free transportation service also receive a daily wage of Php 340.00.

Mr. Ligsay follows his designated route (Suba–Tangid–Laoag and vice versa) everyday until the total lockdown is lifted.

Other routes include Pasuquin–Laoag, Dingras–Laoag, Piddig–Laoag, Sarrat–Laoag, La Paz–Suyo, Caaoacan–Madiladig, and vice versa as well as selected sites in Badoc, Pinili, Currimao, Batac, and San Nicolas.

In addition, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office has launched its Cash-for-Work Program for displaced daily wage earners. Likewise, Ilocos Norte Tourism Office begins the distribution of cash assistance for its "pay now, work later" programs such as the Summer Tourism Continuity Program and Heritage Livelihood Continuity Program for tourism frontliners.