Outstanding bikers from delivery service firms will be recognized in the “Padyak! Power to the People” special awards as part of the Mobility Awards to be concluded on Thursday.

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Padyak Padala PH partner-courier Sebastian Terry Cantero is nominated for “Outstanding Courier” in the Mobility Awards (Padyak Padala PH / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a recent online discussion, representatives from Grab Philippines, Foodpanda Philippines, Gofer, and Padyak Padala PH shared stories of their cyclist messengers and delivery bikers who are regularly facing road hazards aside from the COVID-19 pandemic to serve their customers.

Organizers and company participants said nominees for the Padyak! Power to the People come from different walks of life — mostly breadwinners of families –including persons with disabilities (PWD), and young adults who have been affected by the current health crisis and pedaled for their families to survive.

On the part of the delivery firms, they said that recognizing their riders through this is a way of honoring them as “heroes” for risking their lives to serve the public.

“We chose our nominees based on their dedication, passion, and heart. All of the riders are our heroes. Not just because they are now our frontliners amid the pandemic but because they are risking their lives for us to serve food on our tables and serve their communities,” Justine Bitancor of Foodpanda said.

GrabFood and Grab Philippines Assistant Manager Rachelle Tan said the firm opened last year its platform to cyclists and even walkers to provide more livelihood opportunities.

GoFer dispatcher Jezza Abalos urged the government to create more safe and separate lanes for bikers, not just for motorcycle riders, to ensure their safety while on the road.

“Let Metro Manila be a safe place for people to go around [in bicycles]. I hope our local chief executives and policymakers also put their heart into caring for these cyclists who only aim to make their families’ lives better,” Abalos said.

This was echoed by Lucan Villanueva, founder of Padyak Padala PH, a community bike courier service that was formed during the quarantine lockdown, who said that infrastructures should remain as the government’s priority.

“Many people want to bike to work but are held back by dangers of the road. Infrastructure should be the priority if we want a more bikeable community for all,” Villanueva said.

This inaugural round of the Mobility Awards, which aims to help prioritize the needs of the majority of Filipinos who do not have cars, is focused on cycling in Metro Manila where 88 percent of households do not have their private vehicles.

The panel of judges for the Mobility Awards will evaluate the nominations submitted by the participating delivery companies and will announce the top three winners who will receive a cash prize of P10,000 (1st place), P8,000 (2nd place), and P5,000 (3rd place).

Apart from the Padyak! awards, the most-voted city, workplace, and commercial establishment in the capital region will also be recognized through the People’s Choice awards.

Winners will be announced on Thursday, October 29, in a virtual event to be live-streamed at the Mobility Awards Facebook page.

The Mobility Awards is organized by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, MNL Moves, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and 350.org Pilipinas to inspire action, involvement, and coordination among local government units, workplaces, and commercial establishments with the aim of improving conditions for urban mobility.

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