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Lugaw Rider Speaks Out in Exclusive Interview

The Grab rider is taking up BS Education major in English. 
IMAGE MARVIN IGNACIO, SHUTTERSTOCK
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Grab Food delivery rider Marvin Ignacio, 23, did not expect his experience of being apprehended because of lugaw (rice porridge) would become a national issue. 

Ignacio was apprehended by town officials during one of his trips, in which he was supposed to pick up and deliver lugaw from a restaurant. He decided to film the incident and stream it live on Facebook. Ignacio was accused of violating curfew hours (6 p.m. to 5 a.m.) being implemented in Barangay Muzon, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan on March 31. 

In the video, a woman could be seen lecturing Ignacio, telling him lugaw is a non-essential item and thus, he is not exempted from the curfew. Netizens pointed out the woman’s condescending tone.   

In an exclusive interview with PEP’s Cabinet Files, Ignacio revealed he avoids going out of the house at the moment. 

“Medyo hindi muna po ako lumalabas, nagpapalamig muna, baka po may galit sa akin na barangay tanod. Medyo takot din po,” said Ignacio. 

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(“I avoid going out for now. I’m letting the issue subside, there might be people from the barangay who have grudges against me. I’m afraid.”)

“As per investigation, may nagpupunta rin dito pa sa amin na barangay officer, VAWC raw po yung babae, siya po yung namamahala sa Violence Against Women and Children sa barangay,“ he added.

(“Based on the investigation, the woman is actually from the barangay’s Violence Against Women and Children department.”)

Taking Up B.S. Education Major in English

According to Ignacio, he is currently a working student taking up B.S. Education Major in English. During the day, he attends online classes, and then accepts orders on Grab Food at night. 

Ignacio revealed that he felt abused and degraded during the course of his apprehension by barangay officials. 

“Noong time na ‘yon, ang naramdaman ko para po akong bata na inagawan ng lollipop at walang magawa. Ang pagkakaalam ko sa buong pagkatao ko, umabot po ako ng 23 years old na alam ko na essential yung lugaw kasi nga po, category siya ng pagkain kahit sabihin natin na hindi siya kaagad nakakabusog,” said Ignacio. “Essential pa rin siya kasi may mga taong hindi afford na bumili ng mamahaling pagkain.”

(“At that time, I felt like a child whose lollipop was taken away and I couldn’t fight back. throughout my 23 years of living, I’ve always known lugaw is essential. It may not be filling, but it is still food. It is essential because for some people, that’s all they can afford.”)

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“I am always informed. I always watch the news.”

According to Ignacio, he never hesitated riding out to deliver food despite the curfews in place because he knows the law. 

“Nanonood kami lagi ng news, meron din guidelines na ipinalalabas na essential po kaming riders,” said Ignacio. 

“Frontliners nga po kami dahil imbes na yung mga tao ang lumabas para bumili ng essential goods nila, kami na lang ang lalabas para sa kanila. Allowed po kami na lumabas kahit may curfew as long as hindi namin ginagamit sa pang-sariling interes ang Grab. As long as nagtatrabaho kami para makatulong po sa ekonomiya natin. Yun po ang pagkakaalam ko kaya everytime na may order, talagang lumalabas ako despite COVID-19.”

(“We are frontliners. We go out so people won’t have to leave their homes to buy essential goods. We are allowed to go out beyond curfew hours as long as we don’t use it for personal interests and we are working to help the economy. That’s as far as I know. Every time there’s an order, I go out despite the risks of COVID-19.”)

Barangay Officials Threatened to Arrest Him

According to Ignacio, the barangay officials allowed him to deliver the multiple orders of lugaw to the customer but threatened to arrest him if it happened again. 

“Yun din po ang unang pumasok sa isip ko, ang i-video ang nangyari para kung ma-violate man ang pangsarili naming karapatan, kahit papaano, may laban kami. Hindi man kami ang makalaban, may ibang tao na magtatanggol sa amin, ganoon po yung naging mindset ko.”

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(“That’s what first came to my mind, to record it on video so that if our rights are violated, we have proof. We may not be able to fight now, but someone out there could help us. That’s what I was thinking.”)

"Kabadong-kabado ako ng time na ‘yon kaya nga po yung video ko, kung mapapansin ninyo, talagang patago. Hindi po nila alam na nagvii-video ako kasi may mga pulis na nandoon. Pilit niyang sinasabi na titiketan daw po kami. Pwede raw niya po kaming damputin dahil curfew. Lumabag daw po kami sa law.”

(“I was so nervous at that time that’s why I recorded it on video. If you would notice, it was done secretly. They did not know I was recording the entire time, especially since there were cops who were telling us they would write us a ticket. They threatened to arrest us because of the curfew we allegedly violated.”)

“Ang daming barangay tanod at tatlong police mobile cars ang nandoon tapos dalawa lang kami na Grab rider kaya wala talaga akong karapatan na sumagot-sagot sa kanila. "Nung time na ‘yon, talagang nagpakumbaba na lang ako para matapos na yung pangyayari at makauwi na lang ako sa pamilya ko. Takot na takot din ako.”

(“There were also a lot of town enforcers and three police vans versus the two of us Grab riders, that’s why I really did not talk back to them. At that time, I was really submissive to them just so everything would be over. I was really scared.”)

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But despite everything that happened, Ignacio says he is proud of himself. 

“Most of Us Riders are Educated and Professional.”

"Naging proud din po ako sa sarili ko. Parang nalampasan ko yung ganoong trial. Siguro will na rin ni God para yung ibang LGU’s [local government units] na hindi sumusunod sa national government, mabuksan ang isip nila at sundin ang ini-implement na batas. Huwag sana nilang brasuhin kami na riders kasi kung tingnan nila kami, parang maliliit lang kami na mga tao at talagang hinahamak kami. Karamihan po sa delivery riders, may mga tinapos, propesyonal at karamihan, nagsa-sideline dahil sa hirap ng buhay kaya kailangan ng raket.”

(“I felt proud of myself. I overcame that ordeal. I guess it was also God’s will so that other local governments would be able to follow the national government and implement the laws correctly. I hope they don’t bully us riders because if you’ll see, we are so small. In truth, most of us riders are educated and professional. Many are just doing this as a way to earn extra.”)

This story originally appeared on PEP.ph. Edits have been made by the Esquire Philippines editors. 

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Jojo Gabinete for PEP.ph
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