Fare Rollback Effects not Felt by Millions of Unemployed, NGOs to the Rescue
Manila, Philippines – Although there are statements from government officials that the country is secured from the ongoing recession, the growing number in unemployment rate is posing a threat of amplifying the country’s state of poverty.
Reports of unemployment rate are hitting the headlines lately. If there is an issue that is common between the Philippines and the countries that are in recession, it is the alarming growth of unemployment rate.
This is a chain result of the global economic crisis, as industrial establishments and companies are in manpower-cutting state, if not totally shutting down, both in the country and in others.
What is alarming is that unemployed citizens could be threat as an addition to the statistics of citizens living below the poverty line. Statistics for unemployed in the country as of 2008 is 40% of the population according to Business for Millennium Development, a group of Australian companies that market Asia Pacific region.
The percentage is more or less 36.4 million Filipinos in figure.
This foreseen threat is supported by the fact that there are 31.4% starving families of unemployed Filipinos in the December 2008 statistics report of Social Weather Stations.
The government is aware of this risk and has addressed this through series of job fairs.
Recently, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) held a job fair and was attended by some 1,326 hopeful applicants. However, only 135 applicants were hired on the spot as reported by DPWH.
Another obvious chain result is the recent transportation fare rollback. This is supposed to be good news for the mass local commuters, who are largely employees or laborers and students.
But even if fare has its rate rollback, many still could not feel the supposed convenience as they don’t have source of earnings, especially those unemployed. SWS survey revealed that there are some 11 million Filipinos that are unemployed during the last two months of 2008.
This impoverished condition of countrymen is what moves non-government organizations (NGOs) to give free services in full effort.
One notable service is that of the UNTV Libreng Sakay (Free Bus Ride) meant to help poor commuters even to at least save some fare. This was once just a vision of Good Morning Kuya’s Mr. Daniel Razon, but this project became a reality for nearly 2 years now and is being sponsored by the religious leader of the program Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path), Bro. Eliseo Soriano.
There are 2 UNTV buses roaming around Metro Manila to render free ride service to the public. Boarding in Monumento to Baclaran, and Baclaran to Monumento, the services are scheduled every Monday to Friday 5:00 am to 8:00 am, and 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
A passenger commented in his blog, Teddy Bear’s Claw on June 11, 2008 about this service.
Translated in English, he said “UNTV’s free bus ride is a big help and a plus in savings if you ever got a chance to ride their bus.”
This free ride comes along with a snack for the day, and one can watch news from the station and get a free Bible to take home.
Those who have been there couldn’t believe at first this kind of service. “My reaction? I immediately looked for any cameras on focus . . . this might be in a blooper/ practical joke show,” stated Brown Pinay in her blog brownpinay.com regarding her first-time ride in the UNTV free bus ride.
She continued, “But of course I was wrong. It was indeed a bus offering a free ride from UNTV Channel 37, sponsored by programs of Eli Soriano (Ang Dating Daan) and Daniel Razon (Good Morning Kuya).”
Along with this public service is the Libreng Sakay sa MRT (Free MRT ride) of UNTV for the Senior Citizens, a joint effort of UNTV and Metro Rail Transit Authority. The project is to give comfort for older citizens during their MRT travel by riding for free and providing them special space in the transit.
While major parts of the globe are restless in the crisis brought by the recession, there are concerned organizations such as Ang Dating Daan (ADD) and UNTV. These organizations are putting their efforts to bring smile in the faces of poor fellowmen in the morning and help them to relax after working hours through the free services they offer.
Whether there is increase or decrease in fare, these one-its-kind projects of the ADD organization and UNTV network provide answers to the present economic crisis of the simple citizen plying the rode in his daily grind.
Tags: Daniel Razon , Kuya Daniel , Good Morning Kuya , Public Service , Poverty , Eliseo Soriano , Bro Eli Soriano , The Old Path , Free Bus Ride , Free Tickets
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