MVP group provides bikes to indigent Pasiguenos, PNP contact tracers

In a bid to help people commute to work safely or make a living in a pandemic, the foundations of the companies led by Manuel V Pangilinan have initially given away 70 bicycles to indigents in Pasig and 50 to government contract tracers.  The donations under its Bike for Livelihood initiative were made in celebration of the World Bicycle Day on June 3, as declared by the United Nations.

Partnering with TV5 anchor Gretchen Ho, who founded the Donate a Bike, Save a Job project in 2020, PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF), One Meralco Foundation, Metro Pacific Investments Foundation and First Pacific Company Limited recently turned over bicycles and digital tools to the recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), bike lane enforcers of Pasig City, as well as contact tracers of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Pangilinan, who initiated Bike for Livelihood, said the initiative could help support livelihood and transportation needs in their respective jobs.  “The best solution to poverty is livelihood. If you could provide [people] with a means of making themselves a livelihood, whether by delivering food or medicine or water, I think that’s something we should support,” Pangilinan said. “I do hope they would use it for their families, so they can uplift their way of living. At the end of day, that’s what we’re all here for. Social orientation is embedded in our Group’s DNA.”

Smart Communications President and CEO and PLDT Chief Revenue Officer Alfredo S. Panlilio, a biking enthusiast himself, said Bike for Livelihood enables a sustainable future. “You help those in need of assistance on mobility, so that they may still be able to go to their workplaces in the absence of sufficient and reliable public transport. Biking also promotes health and wellness, while providing livelihood,” adding that “a lot of delivery riders in Makati are riding a bike so maybe you can also open up your own business as a delivery rider so there’s a good perspective.”

At the turn-over ceremonies, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto received 70 bicycles on behalf of the recipients in his city, while Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Nestor F. Quinsay accepted 50 bikes for the PNP contact tracers.

Bike for Livelihood will also distribute bicycles to recipients in the cities of Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan, Malabon, and Batangas, to complete a total of 500 bicycles committed to the project.

This initiative is part of the donation drive of First Pacific’s 40th anniversary celebration, with the PSF taking the lead in the activities.

“The foundations of the companies led by MVP have always been responsive to our communities, especially in times of crisis. We take inspiration from Chairman MVP and First Pacific who choose to give back as thanksgiving for the blessings of 40 years,” said PSF President Ma. Esther O. Santos.

Ho’s bike advocacy is supported by MVP and the foundations, according to Santos, as it is aligned with the foundations’ existing livelihood programs. “The project is very relevant in these pandemic times and beyond.”

“What better way to start than in your own backyard. With the MVP group, I really believe there’s tremendous potential for impact, not just with the people we’re going to give the bikes to, but for the whole cycling community. As we move together toward building businesses that are bike-friendly, we enable a culture that supports biking. Hopefully, we will have more equal share of road space on our streets, more respect and education for bikers and motorists, and hopefully cities that promote active, sustainable transport. There’s no other time for change but now,” said Ho.

Included in the donations are 100 Smart phone retailer kits from First Pacific and 100 Pocket WiFi devices from Smart Communications.   “These tools will help small businesses and service personnel connect to the market through online apps and platforms, which are now the new normal for businesses,” Santos observed.

Maynilad has also pledged support to the project through the installation of drinking fountains in various local government units. Bikers will have access to these drinking fountains as they will be strategically located along bikers’ routes.