Councilor Maristela poses together with San Pedro TODA Cooperative drivers after receiving rice subsidies as support to the effect of pandemic.

Some 1,618 tricycle drivers and operators from various organizations received packs of rice subsidies from city councilor Jimbo Maristela as support to the affected residents during the current health crisis.

Maristela, chair of the committee on transportation, said Friday (July 2) the assistance was extended to help alleviate their economic difficulties brought about by the pandemic.

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“Itong ating mga tricycle driver, kung hindi nawalan ng trabaho ay talagang apektadong-apektado ang kanilang kinikita kaya naisip ko bilang chairman ng committee on transportation na kahit papaano ay matulungan natin sila. Maipakita natin na kaming elected official ng city government ay magparamdam din sa kanila ng pagdamay,” he said.

The distribution of rice assistance started on June 23, followed by June 26, and July 2 wherein each driver or operator-driver would receive a four-kilo rice pack.

Some tricycle drivers and operators who receive rice subsidies from Councilor Jimbo Maristela.

The covered tricycle operators and drivers’ association (TODA) are those in barangays of San Jose, San Manuel, San Pedro, and those located in the poblacion area.

The assistance was also extended to the affected drivers of the absence of tourists such as Air Toda of airport and Hotel Frontliner of hotels and accommodations.

“Liban sa chairman tayo ng committee, tuwing nagmi-meeting tayo ay panay ang daing nila sa atin. Unang-una, hindi sila makadaan sa national highway, pangalawa ngayon, MECQ. Hinihigpitan sila, may mga panahon na sinisita sila kahit na mayroon tayong ordinansa na tatlo ang pasahero at may plastic barrier, may naninita pa rin sa kanila na dapat isa lang ang pasahero nila, kaunti rin ang lumalabas na tao,” he said.

“Siyempre, gusto natin tulungan lahat kaya lang siyempre ay very limited ang resources namin. Ito ay sarili namin na pera, hindi pondo ng aming opisina, pera namin mag-asawa. Naisipan namin na sa panahon ng pandemya ay makatulong tayo kahit papaano sa ating mga kababayan,” he added.

Even he is uncertain if there will be another batch of distribution due to insufficient budget as the funds he used came from the personal pocket, he expressed his hope to saturate even TODAs in southern barangays of the city.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.