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DILP empowers over 5,000 Sumilao townsfolk, street food vendors, and IP weavers

MALAYBALAY CITY (PIA)--The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) has empowered over 5,000 individuals in Sumilao town, including street food vendors like Rea Pontillas and the Sunflower Weavers, a group of indigenous peoples (IP) women in Barangay Manalog, Malaybalay City.

Pontillas of Sumilao town was declared the regional winner in 2022 and national finalist in 2023 in the Kabuhayan Awards for the sustainability and progress of her P15,000 Fishball Vending Starter Kit, which she received from DOLE in 2021. 

Leveraging the profits from her starter kit, she hired four additional staff to manage her business, including cashiers and assistants. It improved her financial situation and had a positive ripple effect on the community.

Moreover, Pontillas was then financially challenged when her son was diagnosed with Kawasaki Syndrome, especially since the business income was not enough to cover the medical expenses. 

The COVID-19 pandemic aggravated the situation, forcing them to close the business temporarily as sales plummeted.

When the country was slowly recovering from the pandemic, Pontillas decided to innovate the business and adapt to the new normal. 

She included delivery services of her street foods to offices and homes to nearby establishments and homes in Barangay Kisolon as the country still keeps safety precautions on the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Most of their Suki or patron customers are local government employees.

Noting her rising profits, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) awarded her a P30,000 grant for street food enhancement in September 2023. The grant included supplies, such as flour, tuna tempura, hotdogs, soft drinks, Balut/Penoy, and fermented vinegar to support her business expansion.

Expressing her gratitude, Pontillas highlighted the increased sales, which helped defray some medical expenses of her son, who is now slowly recovering from the illness. 

Her success story reflects the positive impact of the DILP program on marginalized communities.

Department of Labor and Employment Integrated Livelihood Program beneficiary Rea Pontillas manages her Fishball Vending businesses in Sumilao and Impasugong towns. (Photo courtesy of MAJC/DOLE-10 Bukidnon PFO)

Following suit, the DILP granted the Sunflower Weavers, another group of beneficiaries, a P300,000 Abaca weaving production and marketing project last September. It empowered 33 IP women of Barangay Manalog in Malaybalay City by enhancing their weaving skills, enabling them to generate income through crafting and selling purses, wallets, envelope covers, and bags.

Previously, these IP women accepted handicraft orders while some engaged in seasonal farming, lacking stable employment due to weather changes affecting market supply. Now, with the DILP grant, most members have stable incomes, meeting family needs. Production rates also increased with additional raw materials and tools for their projects.

DOLE-10 Bukidnon Provincial Field Office Chief Raul Valmores said these beneficiaries were only among the 5,305 marginalized and vulnerable individuals of the province provided with over P67 million in livelihood grants for 2023, which is part of the government’s poverty reduction and inclusive development.

Valmores said that these beneficiaries had income augmentation. He noted 1,103 profiled parents of child laborers and 82 associations of workers.

Likewise, DOLE-10, in partnership with national government agencies and private sector stakeholders, trained 2,384 beneficiaries in Shielded Metal Arc Welding and Masonry, certifying them with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority's National Certification (NC-1).  

Additionally, 100 beneficiaries received training under the Workers Organization Development Program (WODP) through WODP PLUS.

Moreover, under the program's emergency employment assistance or Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD), 50 beneficiaries received wages totaling P405 per day for their 10 to not more than 90 days of community work in their locality. (MAJC/SSM/DOLE-X Bukidnon PFO/PIA 10/Bukidnon)

Department of Labor and Employment Integrated Livelihood beneficiaries (with Sari-sari store tarps) receive their livelihood packages from DOLE-10 Bukidnon Provincial Field Office Chief Raul Valmores (center) in partnership with Bukidnon provincial government represented by Board Member Minerva Casinabe (3rd from right) and Public Employment Service Office Manager (4th from right) Imelda Perpetua. (Photo courtesy of MB/DOLE-10 Bukidnon PFO)

About the Author

Ruby Leonora Balistoy


Region 10

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