GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 May) — Some 135 poor families and workers in this city are set to receive various livelihood packages through a continuing poverty reduction initiative of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Ofelia Domingo, DOLE Region 12 director, said Friday they have released an initial P1.2 million grant to the city government to facilitate the processing and release of the livelihood assistance to the beneficiaries, which are mainly composed of ambulant vendors and informal workers.
She said the financial assistance comprised P847,300 for Negosyo sa Kariton or nego-kart projects and P447,120 for DOLE Kabuhayan or livelihood starter kits.
In coordination with the local government, she said they have identified a total of 74 family-beneficiaries for the livelihood starter kits and 61 others for the nego-kart projects.
“This is part of our continuing efforts to help alleviate poverty and promote self-employment among the marginalized sectors in the region,” Domingo said.
Since January, the agency already released some P8 million worth of livelihood packages as part of the program’s implementation in the region.
Also known as Soccsksargen, Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Last month, around 500 informal workers in South Cotabato province received some P3.4 million worth of assistance through the program.
Domingo said the starter kits, which are worth P5,000 to P10,000 each, are composed of basic materials and inputs for small ventures such as dress making, cosmetology, kakanin making, dried fish vending and operation of a mini-carenderia or eatery.
She said the nego-carts, which are worth P13,500 each, include packages for the vending of various “street food,” assorted snacks, fruits and vegetables.
She said these ventures were identified by the beneficiaries themselves based on their interests and skills or capabilities.
Aside from the materials and inputs, she said the livelihood packages included initial capitalization to allow the beneficiaries to immediately start with their ventures.
The official said they also provided skills trainings and technical assistance, focusing on the sustenance of the livelihood projects.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the release of the livelihood assistance is a big boost to the city government’s efforts to address poverty and improve the living condition of the area’s marginalized sector.
He said about 20 percent of the city’s 538,000 population are presently classified as below or under the poverty threshold.
“This is very important for our (poor) constituents and we’re very positive in terms of its impact, especially on a long term basis,” the mayor added. (MindaNews)