AT LEAST 120 tobacco farmers from San Manuel, Tarlac recently received livelihood starter kits from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
In an interview, DOLE Tarlac head Aurita Laxamana said the P1.2 million fund for the project is under DOLE’s special funds for its livelihood program.
“Annually, San Manuel is allocated a portion of the collected cigarette excise tax which is, in return, distributed as livelihood assistance to the municipality’s tobacco farmers,” Laxamana said.
San Manuel is the only tobacco-producing town in Central Luzon.
Each farmer-beneficiary received more than P10,000 worth of livelihood starter kits.
Aside from personal protective equipment (PPEs), farming tools such as knapsack sprayer, shovel and rake were also provided to the tobacco farmers.
Farming since he was a child, Esteban Beltran, Jr., now 53 years old, was able to send his four children to school because of tobacco farming.
Beltran expressed his gratitude to the labor agency for the PPE and tools he received.
"What DOLE gave is such a huge blessing. Now, I can use the knapsack sprayer, which made work easier and faster. Sometimes when my services are needed, I now use my own new tools," Beltran said.
DOLE Regional Director Ma. Zenaida Angara-Campita thanked and acknowledged San Manuel Mayor Donya Tesoro and San Manuel Public Employment Service Office (Peso) through Peso Manager Delio Tavisora for their assistance and continuous support to the Department’s initiatives and programs.