Prime Minister Hun Sen launched the Cyclo Foundation which will receive $440,000 per year to support cyclo drivers, who number only about 300 in Phnom Penh. A cyclo is a three-wheeled pedal-driven vehicle, typical to Cambodia, that was popular in the past; but now most locals prefer motorized vehicles.
Speaking at the meeting with Phnom Penh cyclo drivers, the premier introduced the organization of which he is honorary president and Phnom Penh’s mayor (governor), Khoung Sreng, is president. It is estimated that the organization will need around $300,000 per year for its work.
He will support it with $240,000, other donators will contribute $200,000 and the mayor will fund $10,000. To date, Mr Hun Sen has given $145,000, while $50,000 came from government members and other donators.
The premier said that cyclo drivers registered with the foundation will receive many benefits, e.g. free medical treatment at state hospitals. Each cyclo driver will get $1.75 per day for rental and a meal, but he will also receive money three times a month, or every 10 days, and will get $17.5. During Khmer New Year and Pchum Ben foundation members will get an allowance. If a driver dies, his family will receive some financial support. He suggested that registered drivers wear a uniform. “Members of foundation are not required to contribute any money. He made clear that non-registered cyclo drivers may not partake of the benefits.
Cyclo driver Hen Phalla said that he has driven a cyclo for over 10 years and luckily earns about $10 a day, but only because he has regular customers. “I am so happy that Samdech Hun Sen supports us cyclo drivers. Now there are only old people who drive cyclo.”