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GRAB WIVES ACADEMY: Managing their husband’s income

By: Cris Evert B. Lato-Ruffolo September 03,2017 - 11:13 PM

In the quest for a better life for her family, Donabelle Montejo, 36, literally took the wheel of her destiny into her hands and drove all the way to financial freedom.

A native of Barangay Basak San Nicholas in Cebu City, Donabelle is wife, mother and a Grab Car driver rolled in one.

“I was an employee of a direct selling company for seven years, but I felt that my salary was never enough to compensate for the work that I did. I woke up early to be in the office on time but came home late. I barely had time to spend with my children and husband,” she shares.

Montejo resigned from her job and set up a food cart business. Her business location was perfect: across a university in Mandaue City. She entrusted the operations to a storekeeper, a decision she now describes as a “wrong business move.”

Her enthusiasm to continue the business died down in 2013 especially when Super Typhoon Yolanda destroyed her food cart. She then went on to work for a multi-level marketing (MLM) company selling food supplements.

“There’s a stigma in the Philippines that if you practice a career in MLM, you’re already a fraud. It’s not a fake business. I’m proof of it. After eight months, I was able to save enough money for a downpayment for a car loan that the company arranged,” she says.


As common economic principle would say, a car loan is a liability.

So Donabelle thought there must be a way to make it an asset by earning money using her hatchback car, a product of hard work and determination.

She signed up for a transport network company in late 2016 but shifted to Grab soon after experiencing fast bookings and better incentives.

“Within one hour, there are three passenger bookings and the distances are close to each other. I can serve more passengers, increasing my number of rides so I can reach my quota and claim my incentives,” says Donabelle.

Donabelle says she earns Php 40,000 on a good month, which gives them financial freedom. The family is based in the northern Cebu town of Borbon. All four of her children are enrolled in public schools.

Her earnings from being a Grab Car driver enabled her to buy a second unit, this time a sedan, which she currently drives. She has rented out the first car to a cousin, who pays them a daily rent of 800 pesos.

Her husband alternates with her in driving the car.

Their next project is fulfilling their children’s dreams of going to college. They are saving up a portion of their earnings to realize these dreams.

Her innovation and creativity gained Donabelle a slot in the recent Cebu leg of Grab Wives Academy, more popularly known as Misiskolar, which aims to inspire and empower the wives of Grab drivers to be better at financial management and find ways to support their partners.

Maricel Mariñas, 52, of Barangay Sta. Cruz in the town of Ronda, southern Cebu, was also one of the participants.

Her husband was a taxi driver before he became a Grab driver on April 2017. He rents a car for P800 a day, lower by P230 from the taxi unit he used to rent at P1,030 per day.

Maricel says her husband gives her P4,000 weekly or P16,000 a month, which she compares to the amount of money that wives of overseas Filipino workers receive in a month.


Liziel Villavicencio-Cosgayon, marketing manager of Grab Philippines, says they launched Grab Wives Academy in 2016 in Manila after a survey indicated that most Grab drivers remit their earnings to their partners.

But the study also found that nine out of every 10 housewives were ill-equipped to manage the money remitted by their husband Grab driver.

Cosgayon notes that if wives are not given the necessary skills and opportunities to manage or grow their husband’s income, the endless cycle of poor money management in Filipino families will continue.

This was the need that pushed Grab Philippines to organize Misiskolar last year. This year, the Manila leg was attended by 1,000 housewives.

“It’s also good that there is a secondary source of income, which supports the family. We’d like the drivers and their families to feel that we are doing something to really help them improve their lives,” she says.

Grab Misiskolar is an initiative with the goal of empowering and educating the drivers’ wives to be wiser about handling their husband’s hard-earned income and enabling them to start their own “mini-gosyo.”

There are 3,000 Grab drivers in Cebu, according to Cosgayon.

For the Cebu leg held last August 27 at the SM City Cebu Trade Hall, Grab Philippines chose 300 participants, who are the partners or housewives of Grab drivers with the highest overall performance rating.

The one-day program included a financial management talk and livelihood workshops on no-bake cake making, direct selling, perfume making, starting up a business and getting the needed start-up capital.

Grab Philippines partnered with Unionbank, Lendr, Avon, Sunlife, Angat Pilipinas, and Generika Drugstore to roll out the program.

Cosgayon says they hope to expand to other cities where Grab operates such as Baguio, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Davao.

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TAGS: earnings, income

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