GENERAL SANTOS CITY – At least 99 poor informal workers from two municipalities in Sarangani province have received around PHP1.7 million worth of livelihood assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Raymundo Agravante, DOLE Region 12 director, said Thursday they released the grants in a series of engagements in the last two weeks in partnership with the local government units of Alabel and Maasim.
He said the recipients comprised former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, parents of child laborers, former overseas workers, and disadvantaged workers in the informal sector.
In Alabel, 56 beneficiaries, mostly from Barangay Datal Anggas, received a total PHP987,140 worth of livelihood starter kits, he said.
Agravante said the approved projects or ventures were for carpentry, painting services, vulcanizing, tailoring, and vegetable gardening.
He said the grant coverage, which is under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP), was mainly requested by the local government and concerned stakeholders to assist the rebel returnees in the area.
“This is a product of inter-agency collaboration under the initiative to end local communist armed conflict,” he said in a statement, referring to the “whole-of-nation-strategy” to address the communist insurgency as provided for in President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70.
Rufinio Diamante, a former NPA member, lauded the agency for the assistance and providing them the opportunity to rebuild their lives.
“These are things that we yearned for while we were still in the mountains,” he said in Filipino.
In Maasim town, Agravante said some 43 informal workers received a total of PHP725,530 worth of livelihood starter kits.
Also released under the DILP, he said the beneficiaries included women workers, ambulant vendors, skilled workers, transport workers, and former overseas Filipino workers.
Agravante said the starter kits were for small business projects such as dressmaking, welding services, barbecue and food vending, mini eatery, and transport services.
DILP is a flagship program of DOLE that seeks to contribute to poverty reduction and reduce vulnerability to risks of the working poor, vulnerable and marginalized workers either through emergency employment, promotion of entrepreneurship, and community enterprises. (PNA)