A total of 4,188 Bicolanos will now enjoy some PHP26 million worth of livelihood assistance under two programs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in his message during the virtual awarding ceremony on Thursday, said the grant aims to see people’s lives transform from good to better, then better to best.
“Our primary goal is to provide them a means of living than can withstand over time,” he said.
Bello said the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic wreaked havoc on businesses and economy, led to job losses and paralyzed the movement of the people and goods, affecting livelihood activities in big cities and even small communities.
He added that the devastating effect of the health crisis on workers in the informal sector and thousands of enterprises has been greatly felt.
“Without alternative income sources, affected workers and families will have no means to survive,” he said.
Under the Tulong Panghanap-Buhay Para sa Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD), the provinces that received projects and the corresponding worth are: Camarines Sur with 1,231 beneficiaries (PHP4.7 million); Tabaco City, Albay with 321 beneficiaries (PHP1.05 million); Bacacay, Albay with 136 beneficiaries (PHP448,000); Catingan Masbate with 492 beneficiaries (PHP2.6 million); Pio V. Corpus, Masbate with 450 beneficiaries (PHP1.6 million); Esperanza, Masbate with 450 beneficiaries (PHP1.6 million); and Palanas, Masbate with 444 beneficiaries (PHP1.6 million).
For assistance under the livelihood program, 664 beneficiaries from the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon province received PHP12.6 million worth of various forms of aid.
DOLE regional director Joel Gonzales said the livelihood assistance includes the Kabuhayan starter kit, provision of 4WD tractor for agri-business production, and assistance to workers in geographically isolated and disadvantage areas (GIDAS) under Executive Order 70, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), soldiers who are wounded in action, parents of child laborers, marginalized workers and former rebels.
Marites Degala, a mother of child-laborers from Hawan Ilaya in Virac, Catanduanes, thanked the government officials for the benefits she received.
Degala, who has three children, said with the livelihood starter kit, she no longer needs to borrow money from other people.
“Dai na din ako matugot na maging child laborer pa ang aki ko. (I will not allow my kids to engage in child labor anymore),” she said.
Another beneficiary, Antonio A. Zapico, 65, of Barangay Sta. Elena also in Virac, Catanduanes, received a “padyak” as his starter kit.
“Dakulang pamabalos sa DOLE, kay Sec. Bello, RD Gonzales at DOLE-Catanduanes asin ki Cong Hector Sanchez. Kaugmahan kong gulpi na ako nakabali sa nataw-an kang starter kit na padyak. Dakulang tabang talaga ini sako ta dai na ako maki boundary para maka kayod lang. May sadiri na akong padyak. Mabalos otro saindo. (With outmost thanks to DOLE, Sec. Bello, RD Gonzales, and Cong. Hector Sanchez. I am so delighted that I’m one of the beneficiaries of padyak. This is a great help for me, I have my own pedicab), he said.
Meanwhile, Sorsogon 1st district Rep. Evelina Escudero, in her message, thanked the DOLE for the assistance given to her province.
“Nagpapasalamat kami for these help you are giving to our province. Malaking tulong ito lalo na ngayon may pandemya, (We are thankful for these help you are giving to our province. This is a big help especially during this pandemic), she said.
Escudero also reminded the beneficiaries from Sorsogon who received the assistance to value and make the most out of it to uplift their lives. (PNA)