More than a hundred rebel returnees and parents of child laborers in Northern Mindanao benefitted from a livelihood assistance amounting to over P2 million giving them a chance for a fresh start in life, the labor department reported on Tuesday.
In a report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the DOLE regional office X said it has distributed livelihood starter kits to 83 parents of child laborers and to 34 former rebels in the region.
The beneficiaries are among the 137 individuals who received working capital in the form of raw materials, equipment, tools and jigs, and other support services to enable them to become entrepreneurs.
The recipients, which also included 15 individuals from barangay Balulang which were displaced by a recent typhoon in Mindanao and five other displaced workers were from different barangays in Misamis Occidental, Cagayan de Oro City, and Iligan City.
They received livelihood starter kits worth P20,000 each from the Regional Office through its Misamis Occidental Provincial Field Office, Cagayan de Oro City Field Office, and Lanao del Norte Provincial Field Office.
The assistance was released under the Kabuhayan component of the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP).
Misamis Occidental Provincial Field Office, meanwhile, said 20 parents of child laborers from different barangays of Oroquieta City were assisted, with ten of them venturing into rice trading project, six into swine fattening, and four into the sari-sari store.
The Cagayan de Oro City Field Office, on the other hand, released a separate package of assistance worth P1.6 million to 83 beneficiaries through the Skills Mastery Institute for Learning, Employment/Entrepreneurship and Success (SMILES) Foundation, DOLE’s accredited partner in the area.
All the beneficiaries underwent a series of training on basic marketing and financial aspects in a small business conducted by the SMILES Foundation.
The Lanao del Norte Provincial Field Office, for its part, awarded livelihood assistance of close to P.7 million to 34 rebel returnees from the area.
The beneficiaries received their starter livelihood kits after completing their skills training conducted by TESDA.
Isabelo “Ka Belo” Bolocon, who was among those who received the assistance, said:
“Malaking bagay po sa amin yung natanggap namin na starter kit lalo na po sa akin na meron akong pinag-aaral na mga anak, kasi nuong nandun pa ako sa [kabilang] grupo ay di ko po kaya tustusan ang mga pangangailangan sa eskwela at pagkain ng mga anak ko simula ng sumali ako sa grupo. Labis po naapektuhan ang aming pamumuhay. Wala pong hanapbuhay ang aking asawa noon at parati kasi kami nagtatago. Maraming salamat po sa tulong niyo po sa amin. Sana po ay gawing permanente ito hanggang sa kami ay makabalik sa aming tahanan at maibalik ang aming mga hanapbuhay.”