LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — Public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers displaced by COVID-19 restrictions on public transportation have found a new career as delivery riders to service customers in various areas in Ilocos Norte.

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Photo from the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte’s Facebook page/ MANILA BULLETIN

The employment of the displaced PUV drivers was made possible by the collaboration between the provincial government of Ilocos Norte and  “Arkila,” a local delivery service provider,

The Ilocos Norte government, through Metro Ilocos Norte Council (MINC) project head lawyer Nikki Pilar, said the provincial government has been creating COVID-19 recovery projects to alleviate the condition of the stakeholders in the public transportation sector.

“One way to safeguard the livelihood of our affected PUV drivers is working with delivery entities since 50 percent of the transportation sector is only allowed to operate in the province. We contacted Arkila, the first delivery service provider that showed interest in our IN BUYanihan Recovery Program, to partner with the hiring of displaced drivers,” said Pilar.

Of the targeted 50 beneficiaries, five driver-riders were already hired. They will follow a rotational shift in delivering food and non-food items to customers.

Pilar clarified that the MINC is only responsible for accepting applications, while Arkila hires and provides commission to driver-riders.

“Aside from the anticipated increase in the number of customers because of this partnership with the provincial government, we expect that Arkila will be recognized in the province especially that we will now work with jeepney and tricycle drivers. This will be a great opportunity for us to serve our fellow Ilokanos,” said Arkila rider RJ Gaspar.

Gaspar added that Arkila riders practice strict health protocols and observe contactless delivery to ensure the safety of the riders and their customers.

Application for the IN BUYanihan Recovery Program is still ongoing and may be downloaded from the Metro Ilocos Norte Council’s official Facebook page. Qualified applicants aged 21 years to 60 years must be physically healthy.

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