The Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) office in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) has released about PHP2.64 million worth of livelihood grants to some 360 informal and marginalized workers in parts of the region.

Albert Gutib, DOLE-Region 12 director, said the assistance was released under the agency’s flagship Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) and the Bottom-up Budgeting (BUB) scheme.

He said the beneficiaries were 49 women inmates of the South Cotabato Rehabilitation and Detention Center or provincial jail; 21 parolees of the South Cotabato Parole and Probation Office; 50 women workers in Tampakan, South Cotabato; 162 informal workers in this city; and 78 fish vendors in Midsayap, North Cotabato.

The livelihood grants, which were in the form of equipment packages and inputs or starter kits for small business ventures or projects, were separately released by the agency this month in coordination with the concerned local government units (LGUs), he said.

“These were livelihood projects chosen by the beneficiaries themselves that we found viable for funding and implementation,” Gutib said.

In a statement, DOLE-12 said the 49 women inmates and 21 parolees in South Cotabato received some PHP496,000 worth of grants.

These comprise livelihood starter kits for beauty care, carinderia, rice cake making, beads making, slipper making, car washing, vulcanizing, and ice cream making.

In Tampakan, some 50 women beneficiaries received PHP300,000 worth of livelihood packages for beauty care, carinderia and rice cake making ventures.

The beneficiaries are members of the Lampitak Women’s Association and Tampakan Beauty Care Services Association.

The 162 beneficiaries got PHP1.057 million worth of sewing machines for dressmaking and manufacture of bags and rugs.

The beneficiaries are skilled women from the city’s 26 barangays who recently graduated from a dressmaking vocational course facilitated by DOLE and the city’s Public Employment Services Office.

The 78 fish vendors in Midsayap, North Cotabato received new business equipment and raw materials worth PHP783,850.

The beneficiaries, all members of the Midsayap Fish Vendors Association, specifically received raw materials, jigs and tools consisting of 3,000 kg. of assorted fish, two digital stainless steel bench weighing scales, and two pallet trucks.

Gutib said the assistance also included the enrollment of the beneficiaries for one year in the group micro-insurance program of the Government Service Insurance System.

He added that the agency will regularly monitor the progress of the livelihood projects through the concerned LGUs. (PNA) CVL/AVE/FKA