The Marawi City Local Government has provided over 2,900 pedicab and tricycle drivers rice and financial aid to lessen the gravity of the loss of their livelihood due to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic. These marginalized workers of society received 500 pesos cash aid and 25 kilos of rice.

According to the mayor of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Marawi, Majul Gandamra, the city has placed these drivers on top of the list for those that will be given help because they are the ones who are the most affected by the worldwide pandemic. Marawi City was also categorized under the Modified Enhance Community Quarantine (MECQ) area from the first of October until the end of the month, which only made the situation of these drivers worst as they have to be quarantined and are now unable to work or look for another source of income to survive.

The local government began giving out relief packages to batch one of the drivers, including 500 of them, on October 12. This initiative will be continued until all eligible beneficiaries will be given. Marawi City reported that the amount used to finance the rice assistance for these drivers was sourced from the city’s yearly budget for this year. This is because all of the Bayanihan funds given by the national government was already utilized. This national aid given in April amounted to 54 million pesos as part of the Bayanihan Grant for Cities and Municipalities (BGCM). It was allotted for the purchase of rice and other food packs for the indigent residents. The mayor of the city is proud to say that their funds are well-managed; that is why they can assist their needy constituents.

In the duration of the MECQ period in Marawi city, only a few Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs), including the electronic tricycles (e-trikes) given to chosen recipients, were permitted to operate within the city. During the MECQ period, the citizens are only allowed to leave their homes at 4:30 in the morning and be home by six in the evening in compliance with the city’s curfew guidelines. Marawi is also not permitted to leave their houses on Sundays, except for front-liners like health workers and peace keeping forces. The civilians can only go out in cases of emergency. These rules will be strictly followed, as said by the mayor.

Five days after implementing the MECQ, the city already has 378 confirmed cases of COVID-19, from which 82 are active, 18 are dead, and 278 people have already recovered. All of the cases mentioned are under the category of local transmission.

The situation with the pandemic has left many people without jobs and sources of income. Many of them are only surviving with government grants, special programs, and private charitable organizations.  Unfortunately, we cannot always count on government assistance as there are many people and programs that the government has to attend to. Moreover, the government usually assists in the form of goods and not cash. Other private loaning agencies require many documents and collateral, such as properties, even if the loan you are applying for is small. Also, the interest is unreasonably high that a few months will pass, and your principal and interest payable are almost the same. Sometimes the money is needed urgently, and a quick loan is the only recourse.

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This loan must be repaid on time. Applications for such loans can be used only in extreme cases. In any loan, remember to take only the amount that you can repay.