RICE ASSISTANCE. A pedicab driver accepts a bag of rice from the Ministry of Social Services and Development–Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in Cotabato City on Friday (March 27, 2020). Some 300 pedicab and motorcycle taxi drivers in the city (inset) benefited from the relief program amid the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine in the locality. (Photo courtesy of BPI-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – Some 300 motorcycle taxi and pedicab drivers in this city received a 25-kilo bag of rice each on Friday from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The distribution was spearheaded by the BARMM’s Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD), through its “Ayuda Mula sa Bangsamoro government Laban sa Covid-19” program.

“The rice assistance is a big help for my family. This Covid-19 crisis is just temporary and I greatly believe we will overcome this,” said Badruddin Guiamil, 44, a pedicab driver residing in Rosary Heights 10.

Pedicab and motorcycle taxi drivers are among the city residents deeply affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Under the prevailing city enhanced community quarantine measure, two persons are prohibited to ride on a single motorcycle.

Also, one passenger is only allowed to ride a pedicab amid the scarcity of passengers.

In a statement on Thursday, MSSD-BARMM said that more pedicab and motorcycle taxi drivers, including members of the city’s Tricycle Operators and Drivers’ Association (TODA) identified by their head, would receive aid from the BARMM in the coming days.

More so, the MSSD-BARMM is also set to embark on a relief distribution to residents of the 63 barangays in North Cotabato that have voted for inclusion to the fledging region during the 2019 referendum.

Only recently, the MSSD-BARMM has downloaded PHP7.3-million to its provincial offices intended for the purchase of relief goods for constituents affected by the Covid-19 crisis due to implemented quarantine measures. (PNA)