In Dumaguete City (pronounced Doom-a-GET-ee), Philippines, tricycles—motorcycle taxis with a side passenger car—are the main form of public transportation.
Very few of the 3,000 drivers own their tricycles. Earning about $2.50– $7.50 per day, many cannot afford to purchase their vehicles and have to rent from operators at a daily rate of $7.50. Many drivers must borrow from unscrupulous “five-six operators”: for every 5-peso loan, the borrower pays interest of 1 peso every six days. This can accumulate to as much as 240 percent interest annually.
Mission and Service partner, The Institute of Religion and Culture in the Philippines, runs a program to help tricycle drivers earn a fair living for their families. Working closely with an association of drivers, the institute purchased tricycles that drivers buy on a rent-to-own basis. Through the program, 67 drivers have been able to purchase tricycles.
The Institute of Religion and Culture also finances small loans for school fees and other household essentials. One of the original participants, a tricycle driver whose wife is a street vendor, not only paid off his loan for the tricycle, but also loans for children’s school fees and house repairs. The family now owns a decent house, and their three children have graduated from college and are working. The father still drives his tricycle; the mother is still a vendor.
The institute and the tricycle drivers’ association thank the people of the United Church for supporting families in Dumaguete City. Please continue to give generously.
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