Pedaling to Live (Philippines)

February 20, 2010

Read an update from Columban Fr. Oliver McCrossan.

Columban missionaries are “missionaries of the people,” serving the economically poor around the world.

Here are the project’s needs:
60 pedicabs ($500 each) $30,000
Equipment for repairs: $3,000
Seminars and training
for project beneficiaries: $4,000
Transportation costs $1,000
Administrative costs: $3,250

Columban Fr. Oliver McCrossan works amid the people in the poor areas of Ozamiz City on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.

The people must work long hours each day just to eke out a living to support their families. Fr. Oliver reports to me that this is certainly the case for the city’s more than 3,000 drivers of three-wheeled pedicabs, which are pedal-powered tricycle taxis that carry passengers throughout the city.

The work of pedicab drivers is often the only means of support for their families. Each day from early dawn, in all kinds of weather they can be seen on the streets. One pedicab driver is Josefino Baylo, who despite physical handicaps works from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day for a total of about $1.80 in fares.

Pedicab drivers such as Josefino provide Ozamiz City with much-needed transportation service, bringing children to school, workers to offices and shoppers to the market.

Pedaling to Live

Pedaling to Live

Many of the drivers in this city become ill due to continued, everyday exposure to the rain and hot sun, says Fr. Oliver, who has brought God’s words and aid to the poor on the island of Mindanao for more than 25 years. Fr. Oliver wants to help these pedicab drivers help themselves by providing them with new pedicab taxis through a self-help project he calls “Pedaling to Live.”

Most of the pedicab drivers do not own their own vehicles; they rent the tricycles by paying a daily fee. For example, Josefino usually pays half of his daily $1.80 in fares to rent his pedicab, leaving less than a dollar to take home to the family. Fr. Oliver wants to buy new pedicab taxis to help these hard-working people help themselves. His plan is to provide new pedicabs to the recipients during the first six months of the program. Ten more pedicabs would then be distributed during the second six months.

The idea is for the pedicab drivers to make payments to a people’s cooperative bank until the cost of the vehicle is paid for in 18 months. The loan payments would be less than the daily rental the drivers currently pay.

After all the payments are made, the drivers would then assume ownership of their pedicabs. The repayments will be used to buy new pedicabs to be made available to other drivers and their families. So far, Fr. Oliver has turned over five pedicabs to drivers. More are on a waiting list, but lack of funds is a problem.

Pedaling to Live

Pedaling to Live

This is where you can help. Fr. Oliver has asked me to turn to our generous Columban benefactors for seed money for this project. Your support will help buy pedicabs for the “Pedaling to Live” project as well as pay for pedicab repair and administrative support for the program.

Even a small donation can go a long way toward helping these hard-working people better provide for their families. I think that in our heart of hearts, each of us knows that the inhuman exploitation of the labor of others cannot be God’s will.

Your tax-deductible donation, big or small, will give these drivers and their families new hope for a better life.

How you can help: Fr. Oliver would like to purchase 60 new pedicabs to help the people become self-sustaining in their own business.

Gratefully yours in Christ,
Fr. John Burger
U.S. Region Director