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February 22, 2021

Pedaling Through The Pandemic: Mother Of Four Drives A Pedicab To Send Kids To School

Pedaling Through The Pandemic: Mother Of Four Drives A Pedicab To Send Kids To School Lorna Movilla stands beside her pedicab in Rodriguez, Rizal. She says she is proud to be recognized as a female ‘padyak’ driver because it is through this job that she was able to send two of her children to college who are now information technology or IT graduates. Photo from the ‘Istorya ng Pag-Asa’ Facebook page

Lorna Movilla is the kind of woman who does not rely on her husband to feed herself and their children. Despite her lack of education, she earns a living plying the streets of Rodriguez, Rizal in her trusty pedicab, which helped send two of her kids to college.

Hindi kailangan lalaki lang ang maghanapbuhay. Kung gusto mo tumulong sa pamilya, kahit babae [ka], magagawa mo (The man does not always have to be the sole provider. If you want to help the family, even if you are a woman, you can do it),” she said.

Movilla shared her “Istorya ng Pag-asa (Story of Hope)” in the recent episode of “BISErbisyong Leni,” the weekly public affairs program hosted by Vice President Leni Robredo with veteran broadcaster Ely Saludar, aired over dzXL and simulcast live online Sunday, Feb. 21.

The mother of four is a proud and active member of the Montalban chapter of Lakas ng Kababaihan (LNK), a non-government organization that offers training and livelihood opportunities for women in impoverished communities.

It was through the organization that Movilla learned how to drive the “padyak” or (pedicab). She became involved with the group to support her husband whose meager earnings were not enough to provide food for their family or fund the education of their children.

Driving any type of vehicle as an occupation is largely dominated by men. But this does not bother Movilla and other women like her who love to work the pedals. “Nakapag-exercise ka [na], kumita ka pa (You get to exercise and earn money at the same time),” she said.

When the coronavirus pandemic affected her job as pedicab driver, Movilla sold vegetables at their local market to keep them afloat. Fortunately, two of her children made it through college with degrees in information technology (IT) and are now contributing to the family income, too. 

Right now, Movilla’s children are working online because of the pandemic, so she doesn’t mind not being able to work as a pedicab driver for a while. “My kids are helping me,” she said in Filipino.

But Movilla has no plans of slowing down because she still has two other children who want to go to school. She understands the value of a good education, knowing fully well how difficult it is to remain poor.

Mayroon pa po akong dalawang anak na gusto pa ring mag-aral, sabi ko sige tuloy lang. Kasi sabi ko ang pangarap dapat ay hindi hinihintay, hinahanap ‘yan, lagi kong sinasabi sa [kanila] ‘yan. (I have two other children who want to continue with their studies and I encourage them. I keep telling them not to wait for their dreams to come true, they have to look for them),” Movilla stressed.

Movilla has this piece of advice to other parents who also come from less fortunate backgrounds: work harder and help their children realize whatever dreams they have in life. Only by giving them access to proper education can they make it happen, she noted.

Ayoko maranasan nila na matulad sila sa akin na walang pinag-aralan (I don’t want my children to grow up uneducated like myself),” Movilla said, hoping that someday her children would value her hard work in return and feel proud of her as their mother.

Movilla credits LNK- Montalban (old name of Rodriguez) for steering her towards becoming a positive influence to her family. Other poverty-stricken parents are not as lucky as some have fallen into depravity, denying a chance for their children to create better futures for themselves.

The organization was established in November 2020 to extend the ongoing women empowerment drive of the Office of the Vice President in Rodriguez, Rizal. LNK-Montalban has 72 members at present who are self-employed as “padyak” drivers since 2004.

Like Movilla, they all joined the organization to support their husbands who are working mostly as construction workers and jeepney drivers with insufficient daily wages to support their families.

Movilla said she is extremely grateful to Robredo for incorporating women in public service programs. She also thanked the group’s president, Rogelia “Nene” Zerrudo, who recruited her to LNK-Montalban. Movilla now serves as auditor for the organization as well.

She is hoping more public officials like Robredo will keep reaching out to provide assistance not only for the women in need of livelihood opportunities, but also the men who remain unemployed with or without the ongoing pandemic.

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