THE Angkas Group yesterday announced it would be providing 1,000 of their riders who will transport health workers to their working places and back to their residences in Metro Manila for free.
Angkas Group chair George Royeca also presented to Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año and Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar 1,000 pieces of motorcycle barriers which they donated for use of motorcycle-riding health workers in the metropolis.
Believed to have lost tens of millions since they were disenfranchised by the government last April, the Angkas Group said it will give the 1,000 riders motorcycle shields for free as part of their corporate social responsibility.
Royeca said he has no idea how much the 1,000 shields cost but admitted to the Journal Group that just like any other business corporation in the country, they have "lost 99 percent of their income" since COVID-19 entered the country. Just the same, the company said it will pay for the salary of the 1,000 riders who will provide free transport to the health workers.
Citing the move of the Angkas Group, Lt. Gen. Eleazar urged private individuals and groups to assist in making it easier for motorcycle riders to comply with the health standard protocol for pillion riding and eventually help medical frontliners travel especially in Metro Manila and other areas that were reverted to the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
The official and Sec. Año lauded the Angkas Group for their latest donation and for assigning 1,000 of its riders to transport medical frontliners to their work and back home for free.
He said that the Angkas Group took the initiative of coordinating with the DILG chief for permission to launch the Free Motorcycle Ride project for Medical Frontliners and the distribution of free motorcycle barriers for motorcycle riders who regularly transport their relatives and friends who are frontliners—which was eventually approved by the National Task Force on COVID-19.
“This benevolent act of the Angkas Group is a clear manifestation that the spirit of bayanihan is very much alive and continues to be a defining value of Filipinos especially in this time of global pandemic,” said Eleazar.
Based on the agreement between the JTF COVID Shield and Angkas Group, the 1,000 Angkas riders who would provide free rides to medical workers would be assigned near the hospitals identified by the Department of Health as having health workers attending to COVID-19 patients.
These are the Philippine General Hospital, San Lazaro Hospital, Ospital ng Sampaloc in Manila; the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City; and the Tala Hospital in Caloocan City.
Some Angkas riders will also be placed on standby at National Kidney Institute, Quezon City General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City; and, Ospital ng Maynila and Fabella Hospital in Manila.
Medical workers going home could approach the Angkas riders and present their identification cards to get a free ride.
In coordination with Philippine National Police chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, Eleazar said the donated 1,000 motorcycle barriers will be forwarded to various police stations in Metro Manila for distribution to qualified motorcycle drivers, the main priority are motorcycle riders who regularly ferry their spouses, living-in partners, relatives and friends who work as medical frontliners.