A 36-year-old tricycle driver from Barangay Culiat, Quezon City has seen and grabbed an opportunity to improve his situation despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak – using the cash aid he received from the government.
Samad Maulana, a native of Dalican, Maguindanao in Mindanao, moved to Metro Manila 20 years ago in search of better opportunities. He has been earning a living as a tricycle driver when the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was imposed in mid-March and all modes of transportation were banned from the streets to make the people stay at home to prevent them from contracting Covid-19.
In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Wednesday, Maulana said he understood that the ban on transportation was meant to control the spread of the highly infectious disease and that it could last a while.
Thus, when he received a PHP2,000 assistance under the Quezon City government’s “Kalingang QC” program that was intended for drivers of public utility jeepneys, tricycles, and pedicabs, and others whose livelihoods have been affected by the ECQ, he thought of spending the amount wisely.
He set his sights on starting a barbecue business.
“Yung dalawang libo kasi, kapag hindi tinipid, sa isang iglap lang mauubos na iyon. Kaya ito, ginawa ko na lang pang-puhunan ng barbecue business para makapagsimula na rin ulit (The PHP2,000 cash aid, if not used properly, could be gone in a blink. So I decided to invest it in a barbecue business so we can start again),” Maulana said, noting that saving money in these trying times is very essential.
His brother helps him manage the business, from going to the market, preparing the barbecue to selling them.
“Sa isang araw, kumikita kami ng 1,000 hanggang 1,200 pesos na pinapaikot-ikot naman namin para makabili ng bagong paninda (We earn PHP1,000 up to PHP1,200 a day, which we again use to buy food to sell the following day),” Maulana said.
More than two weeks after starting his small barbecue business, Maulana’s business expanded. He now sells ripe mangoes, saba bananas, and fresh vegetables as well.
His sells daily but only from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. to adhere to Ramadhan, the holy month of fasting and spiritual reflection for Muslims, and the community quarantine curfew rules.
Maulana said he is now reaping more income from the business.
“Kung hindi ko ginastos nang maayos itong konting pera na nakuha ko sa gobyerno, masasayang lang at mahihirapan po kami. Ang hanapbuhay ko lang ay pagiging drayber (If I didn’t spend the money I got from the government wisely, it would have gone to waste and we would suffer. Being a driver is the only thing I do for a living),” he said.
Maulana noted that once the community quarantine is lifted, he wants to go back to driving his tricycle but he also wants the business to continue.
He said he needed to be more persevering and save more money, especially because he and his wife are expecting their third child in June.
Maulana said he plans to take turns with his brother in managing the business.
“Kapag ako yung namamasada ng tricycle, siya naman yung magtitinda dito. Tapos halinhinan kami, ganu’n (Whenever I drive the tricycle, he would be the one to sell the food. We will do it alternately),” he said.
Maulana said the business also helps him save more money for the education of his 12-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter.
“Ginawa ko po ito para sa mag-i-ina ko. Sila yung inspirasyon ko kahit natigil ako sa pamamasada. Hindi ako titigil gumawa ng paraan para maibigay ang pangangailangan nila (I did it for my family. They are my inspiration even after my livelihood temporarily stopped. I will not stop finding ways to provide for their needs),” he said, adding that he does not forget to keep his faith in God
Source: Philippines News Agency