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South Cotabato informal workers receive DOLE's livelihood kits

DOLE-12 Joel Gonzales congratulated the 82 beneficiaries of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) for receiving livelihood grants that they can use for their respective business ventures. (Photo courtesy of DOLE Region 12)

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato (PIA) -- Over P1.5 million worth of livelihood kits under the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) were given to 82 individuals, including recovering drug dependents, self-employed, and low-minimum wage workers in Tantangan town, this province.

DOLE-12 Regional Director Joel Gonzales, along with Mayor Timee Joy Torres-Gonzales and other local officials, led the distribution of the livelihood kits at the town’s municipal gymnasium.

"DILP isn't just about handouts," explained DOLE-12 Regional Director Gonzales. "It's about fostering self-reliance and creating opportunities for long-term economic growth. We want to see these individuals thrive, contribute to the local economy, and break the cycle of poverty," he added.

He said the livelihood packages were based on the chosen livelihood undertakings of the beneficiaries, which include eatery , dressmaking, car washing, welding, and vulcanizing services, among others.

Beneficiaries of the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) from barangay Tantangan in South Cotabato thanked the DOLE-12 for consistently helping marginalized workers, low-wage earners, and many others access the DILP, which provides them the opportunities to start a business of their own choice. (Photo courtesy of the municipal government of Tantangan)

Of the 82 beneficiaries, 12 are recovering drug dependents endorsed by their respective Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADAC).

Rowell Umipig, who used to be a person who used drugs (PWUD), now finds a beacon of hope in the program's tools and equipment for his welding project.

Maraming salamat po sa lahat na walang sawang sumusuporta sa mga PWUDs na katulad ko. Sa mga kasama kong naligaw ng landas dati, magbago na tayo dahil ito na ang pagkakataon natin. Salamat din sa DOLE sa pagbigay ng pagkakataong tayo ay makapagsimula [Thank you very much to everyone who tirelessly supports PWUDs like me. To those who lost their way before, let's change because this is our chance. Thanks also to DOLE for giving us the opportunity to start],” Umipig said, as he encouraged other drug dependents to follow suit, rebuild their lives, and start anew.

Tantangan Mayor Timee Joy Torres-Gonzales expressed her appreciation to DOLE-12 for the livelihood kits distributed to 82 beneficiaries, reminding them to treat the livelihood kits with the utmost care and prodding them to use them for the intended purpose. She also hailed the sector that makes pottery their business venture. The town of Tantangan is the "pottery capital" of South Cotabato. (Photo courtesy of the municipal government of Tantangan)

Meanwhile, Mayor Torres-Gonzales also urged the beneficiaries to make sure to manage the grant well and take advantage of the assistance to improve their quality of life.

DILP is a flagship program of DOLE that aims to help marginalized groups such as self-employed workers who are unable to earn sufficient income, unpaid family workers, low-wage and seasonal workers, displaced workers, marginalized and landless farmers, marginalized fisherfolk, women and youth, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, indigenous peoples, victims of armed conflicts, rebel returnees, and parents of child laborers.

The program is poised further to reduce the vulnerabilities to risks of the poor and disadvantaged workers by providing them with grants to capacitate themselves and engage in significant livelihood ventures. (ORVR – PIA Region 12)

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Harlem Jude Ferolino

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