By: Shaina Semaña
When Metro Manila and the entire Luzon in the Philippines were put on enhanced community quarantine due to COVID19 pandemic, one of the most affected sectors is transportation. While most people were told to stay indoors, some are still expected to go out and report to work to deliver essential services. Unfortunately, the lack of access to public utility vehicles has become a huge problem especially to our frontliners. There are a few utility vehicles operating but it’s still not enough for our frontliners since some are coming from faraway places. This concern has caused a lot of frontliners to be late on their shifts. There are some cases where they are forced to take leaves or even resign from their jobs.
So how can our modern-day heroes attend to their duties if obstacles arise even before they get to the battlefield? We call for backup. That’s exactly what the group Life Cycles PH is doing. Life Cycles PH is a non-profit organization which helps our frontliners by providing them a form of transportation through bicycles. What started as a group chat between transport advocate friends thinking of ways to help, has now evolved into a group of about 50 volunteers. The spirit of unity and generosity that these transport advocates behind Life Cycles PH have for our frontliners are what makes them perfect to be featured in SEA Wave’s #SEAtizens series. Their story is an inspiration and a true source of light during this pandemic.
Through a donation drive, they purchase bicycles for frontliners to use to get to work. They are also accepting spare bikes for donation or lending which they give to their partner hospitals, drugstores and LGUs (local government units) that are in most need of transportation for their employees. To reach out to more frontliners and bike lenders, Life Cycle PH opened a Facebook community for both of them to match in their area or need.
Keisha Mayuga, one of the founders of Life Cycles PH, in an online interview with SEA Wave said that they partner with different hospitals and institutions, which they chose based on status and location. They get in touch with them to know the COVID status in the area and how many bicycles are needed in that location. Some of their partner hospitals are Makati Medical Center, the Lung Center of the Philippines and St. Luke’s Medical Center. The bicycles are then given to these hospitals in bulk for them to distribute among their employees in need. “We are continuously working to improve our systems, so these might still change,” shared Keisha Mayuga.
Aside from bicycles, Life Cycles PH also gives out helmets and locks, as well as basic biking tips as some of the beneficiaries haven’t ridden a bike in years. The initiative started on March 17, 2020 and, as of writing, has raised about PHP 1.8 million and helped 417 frontliners in 23 institutions. However, despite this, the group is still in need of 314 more bicycles to help more frontliners in need of transportation.
Rowel Anover, a janitorial staff from the Philippine Heart Center who was one of the recipients of a bike, expressed his gratitude to Life Cycles PH. He said that he used to sleep over the hospital after his shift but with the bike he received, it is now easier to come home to the family that he misses.
Spyder Philippines, a brand of athletic gears, has also teamed up with Life Cycles PH, and donated helmets and other biking gears. Fox Racing Philippines also extended help by donating helmets. They even produced a video about biking safety for the frontliners.
Life Cycles PH is continuously seeking donation to help our frontliners. If you wish to be part of this initiative, you can donate cash or lend your bikes. For details, please visit facebook.com/lifecyclesph.
Life Cycles PH is encouraging their beneficiaries to start their localized sharing system so that more people can benefit from the bikes that were donated.