LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment-5 (Bicol) and the Ako Bicol Party-list (AKB) distributed food business carts and other livelihood paraphernalia to 67 ambulant vendors here on Thursday.
In an interview, Johana Vi Gasga, DOLE-Bicol information officer, said the distribution was made as they launched their “Pagkain Oragon sa Daungan” program that aims to provide self-employment opportunities and uplift the vendors’ life conditions.
The project cost, she said, was PHP2.5 million.
“The DOLE and AKB entered into a memorandum of agreement to implement a poverty reduction project. We (DOLE) provided the nego-karts and other livelihood paraphernalia to the 67 beneficiaries while the AKB through Rep. Elizaldy Co provided a primer lot that is accessible to passengers, tourists, and the community at Tektone Village in Legazpi City,” Gasga said.
DOLE Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma, who graced the program’s launching, said the assistance from the government will help the beneficiaries earn stable and secure income.
“Sa umagang ito nilulunsad po natin ang isang programa na layunin na tulungan ang mga na-displace, mababa ang kalagayan sa pamumuhay na gusto po natin maiangat. Pagyamanin po ninyo ang aming tulong… kayo po ay mapalad sa mga napili. Kayo po ang una kasi mabilis po kayo kumilos (This morning, we are launching a program that aims to help those who are displaced and with low-income conditions that we want to uplift. Take advantage of our help… You are lucky among the chosen ones. You are the first because you are quick to make actions),” Laguesma said in his message.
He said the initiative to provide “Negosyo sa Kariton” (Nego-Kart) to ambulant vendors will be replicated in other provinces in the region.
In an interview, AKB Rep. Raul Angelo Bongalon said the DOLE project which is being implemented in cooperation with other stakeholders, also aims to introduce traditional Bicolano food to visitors and at the same time promote the tourist destinations.
“Ito po ay magpapatuloy bilang tulong sa small vendors (This will continue as our way of help to the small vendors). We are also expecting to open the same project in Pilar and Matnog in Sorsogon and in Pasacao, Camarines Sur. DOLE will provide 10 nego-karts per port with free provisions, equipment and they will undergo trainings,” Bongalon said.
One of the Nego-Kart recipients, 42-year-old Jeriwil Soriano from Barangay BayBay, said he is very thankful for the project.
“Ako po ay nagpapasalamat, 10 years na po ako nagtitinda, kung saan saan ako naglalako ng aking paninda lalo na pag umuulan, hindi ko alam kung saan pupunta. Dumating tong AKB at DOLE meron tulong nagpunta ako sa opisina nila, salamat at meron na. Maganda po siya at maayos, safe kami and mas kampante na ako, para bagang tirahan na meron na akong sarili (I am grateful, I have been a vendor for 10 years. I sell my goods anywhere and when it rains, I don’t know where to go. When AKB and DOLE’s help arrived, I went to their office, and thank you, I was chosen. It is beautiful and well managed, we are safe and I am more comfortable, it’s like having a home that is my own),” Soriano said.
Another beneficiary, 54-year-old coconut vendor Jocelyn Nares of Barangay Bitano, said the assistance will provide her with the additional income needed to support her kids.
“Thank you for the opportunity to sustain my source of income and employment. This will augment the income of my family,” she said. I Connie Calipay