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The Manila volunteer driver and the passenger with his last 200 pesos trying to get home

The Manila volunteer driver and the passenger with his last 200 pesos trying to get home

10/4/2020 2:25:00 PM

The Manila volunteer driver and the passenger with his last 200 pesos trying to get home

MANILA - The pandemic has upended daily life with a strict lockdown and curfew but people still need to get to work, others just need to get home. Straits Times sub-editor Jomar Kho Indanan volunteers as a driver for healthcare workers and other folk who need a lift to and from work. This is his blog post from last Saturday (April 4).. Read more at straitstimes.com.

CopyThe pandemic has upended daily life with a strict lockdown and curfew but people still need to get to work, others just need to get home. Straits Times sub-editor Jomar Kho Indanan volunteers as a driver for healthcare workers and other folk who need a lift to and from work. This is his blog post from last Saturday (April 4).

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MANILA - This morning, in between fetching and dropping off frontliners to and from their hospital duties, I saw him shuffling on Mindanao Avenue near Trinoma. I had a few minutes to spare before my next pick-up, so I slowed down and asked him where he was going.

"Novaliches."I told him to hop in and I would take him as close to his destination as I could in the pocket of time that I had.Turns out he does elevator maintenance work for Okada, but on a no-work, no-pay basis. The lockdown caught him at his lodgings on Coastal Road - out of work, dwindling money and no way to get home to his two kids in Novaliches ( his wife was stranded in Butuan in the south).

Last night he was on a video call with his kids aged 12 and 10. They were crying:"Uwi ka na, Tay." (Come home, dad.)So he decided to walk that night, with nothing but his frayed backpack and the last 200 pesos (S$5.60) in his pocket.He managed to get to Edsa a little past midnight, but his legs had given up and he slept outside Megamall. Half an hour later he was walking again, hitched a ride up to Quezon Ave in a hospital van and by 6am he was turning into the street where our paths crossed.

He said I could drop him off anywhere,"because I live much further away, in Bagumbong. It's way past Novaliches. You can drop me off at the next stoplight."I didn't have the cold heart to do that so I drove him all the way to his barangay, over his protestations:"So what now? You don't have a job anymore?

Read more: The Straits Times »

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