Marginalized Tarlakenyos from sugar industry get livelihood aid

CITY OF TARLAC -- Some 51 marginalized individuals from Tarlac province’s sugar industry recently received a P500,000 livelihood assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole)’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

DOLE Regional Director Ana Dione reported to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III that the beneficiaries are comprised of sugar workers, sugarcane planters, and their dependents.

“As strong partners with the sugar industry, we are providing livelihood opportunities anew for our various sugar workers, sugarcane planters, and their families, through our Social Amelioration Program, in line with the Department’s continuous commitment in uplifting their living conditions,” Dione explained.

Of the total provision of livelihood assistance, P200,000 in form of DOLE Kabuhayan Starter KITS, benefited a mix of 29 sugar workers and sugarcane planters.

DOLE Tarlac Field Office head Aurita Laxamana said that the starter kits are start-up or enhanced businesses on mini sari-sari store, rice retailing, and assorted frozen goods-retailing.

Meanwhile, the remaining P300,000, in form of nine high-speed sewing machines and raw materials, benefited 22 members of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) Employee’s Dependent Producers Cooperative (CAT-EDPC).

Laxamana said that the sewing machines and raw materials will be used for the cooperative’s rag-making production and provide them additional source of income.

“Prior to our intervention, the cooperative already engaged in other livelihood activities such as hand soap and dishwashing liquid making, bigasan, and frozen food retailing as their income generating projects,” Laxamana explained.

“We are very optimistic that through our assistance, the cooperative will also find success in their rag-making production project given that such product (rag) is a highly demanded consumable of the CAT during its repair and milling season,” she added.

All beneficiaries, individuals or group, have undergone an Entrepreneurial Development Training (EDT) to ensure the proper management and sustainability of their livelihood projects.

The provision for livelihood is a “blessing for new beginnings” says Jinky Javier, on behalf of the cooperative and the rest of the livelihood beneficiaries.

“Kami po ay taos-pusong nagpapasalamat sa DOLE, sa pamamagitan ng kanilang Tarlac Field Office, sa tulong pangkabuhayan na sewing machines na ipinagkaloob nila sa aming kooperatiba, gayun din sa mga kasamahan naming mga sugar workers at sugarcane planters na nakatanggap ng mga starter kits,” Javier said.

“Sana, tuloy tuloy po ang pagtulong ninyo sa iba pang nangagailangan ng tulong pangkabuhayan upang mai-angat din nila ang antas ng kanilang pamumuhay. Umasa po kayo na ito pong biyaya na ibinigay ninyo sa amin ay aming pagyayamanin,” she added.

Javier, who is the cooperative’s president, is hopeful that their new livelihood venture will prosper and eventually create employment opportunities within their community.

The SAP was established in the sugar industry to contribute to the attainment of decent living of sugar workers and their families through various production sharing-schemes.

The SAP is sourced under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program or DILEEP. (PR)

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