LEGAZPI CITY – At least 18 fully vaccinated vendors from the municipality of Buhi and Iriga City in Camarines Sur have received new bicycles and mobile phones under the “Bikecination” project of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Bicol.

Johana Vi Gasga, DOLE-Bicol spokesperson, in an interview on Friday said the series of turnover of the PHP450,000 worth of bicycles to 18 selected beneficiaries this week aimed to ease the plight of pandemic affected-workers across the region, particularly in Camarines Sur province.

"Dubbed as 'Bikecination Project' under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP), it wants to significantly contribute to national productivity, fast economic recovery and by encouraging those who have completed the two doses of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines to avail of the said assistance," she said.

The project provides a bicycle to qualified applicants which can be used for food and other delivery services, along with a mobile phone, and load wallet to help them engage in e-loading business.

In a statement, DOLE-Bicol Director Ma. Zenaida A. Angara-Campita said the bicycles are not just physical bikes but a livelihood opportunity, and a tool for expanding the entrepreneurial ventures of small businesses.

"Ito pong mga bisekleta ay hindi lamang natural na bisekleta kundi isang instrumento na nagpapatunay ng patuloy na pagmamalasakit ng DOLE sa mga manggagawang labis na naapektuhan ang kabuhayan dulot ng pandemya. Nawa’y magamit ninyo sa pagpapalago ng inyong mga negosyo nang sa gayon ay mas marami pa tayong matulungan na tao sa gitna ng krisis na kinakaharap ng buong mundo. (These are not just bicycles but an instrument that prove the DOLE is continuously showing concern to our workers who are severely affected by the pandemic)," Campita said.

Gasga said 14 fully vaccinated food vendors in San Buenaventura received a bicycle with a helmet, insulated bag, rear and front light, vest, rain coat, water tumbler, cellphone, "and PHP4,000 worth of load, for a total of PHP25,000 per beneficiary".

"Similar items were given to four beneficiaries in Iriga City," she added.

One of the project beneficiaries is Cenon Serdan, a food vendor, whose business was adversely affected by the health crisis.

He was very happy about being qualified for the Bikecination project that he showed off his new bike and phone with an expression of gratitude.

Serdan said he would use the bike to run errands and deliver his products, and his new phone for e-loading business.

Campita encouraged the recipients to help the government spread awareness on the importance of being administered the Covid-19 vaccine for the safety of the people of Camarines Sur, as well as for the rapid economic recovery of the province. (PNA)