By Ariel Paolo A. Tejada, PIA, Ilocos Norte
LAOAG CITY, Mar. 20 (PIA) ––If you are pregnant and frequently ride the tricycle in this city, then you can get a 20 percent off on your fare.
There’s a caveat though, the discount applies only when the expectant mother rides to the hospital or to a health center for a checkup.
Nelinda Erice, gender and development (GAD) officer of the province, said the privilege was part of empowering women as the nation marked Women’s Month.
“We wanted our expectant mothers to get the same fare discount given to students, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities. But the discount will only be given to those who go to health centers and hospitals for checkups,” said Erice.
The discount privilege was sealed in a memorandum of understanding that the provincial government and the Federation of Tricycle Associations of Laoag City signed during the International Women’s Day last March 8.
The fare discount immediately took effect after Gov. Imee Marcos and Francisco Martin, the association president, signed the agreement at the provincial capitol in the presence of hundreds of women.
With a reduced fare, expectant mothers will now only pay P9 per ride instead of the regular minimum fare of P11.
Kahit po ganon eh masaya ako dahil kahit paano iniisip nila ang kapakanan naming mga buntis (though the discount is limited, I am thankful that the provincial government is giving special concern to expectant mothers like me),” said Cindy (not her real name).
Cindy admitted that she has been struggling with her finances since she got pregnant because her parents are unemployed and her boyfriend left her with no financial support.
“Malaki na po ang dalawang pisong matitipid mula sa pamasahe. (Two pesos is big savings already),” she said.
Aside from the discount, the provincial government also established a hotline dedicated for women’s concerns.
Called the “Pink Hotline,” the service allows residents to report incidents of violence against women and other related concerns including emergency assistance when the woman is about to give birth.
Women can also use the hotline in reporting tricycle drivers who refuse to honor the fare discount.
Monitored by the GAD Office and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, the hotline is open 24 hours. The hotline numbers are 09175015511 (Globe subscribers) and 09199948980 (Smart subscribers).#