A team from the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns of the Department of Labor and Employment (BWSC-DOLE), Manila visited three DOLE Regional Office No. X (DOLE-X) funded projects in Bukidnon on 22-23 August 2016 in its continuing efforts to further strengthen budding entrepreneurial undertakings of funded livelihood projects.
The activity is part of the Bureau’s yearly monitoring and documentation of livelihood projects in areas covered by DOLE regional offices nationwide.
This year, the BWSC-DOLE focused its monitoring activities on projects implemented on previous years, specifically on CY 2010, which are still operational and are threading toward project sustainability.
DOLE-10 Bukidnon Head Raul L. Valmores reported that the team was composed of Grace Salazar, Arianne Bucar, and Cho Sumpang from the BWSC’s Program Management and Technical Support Services Division (PMTSSD).
“The team monitored and documented the Meat Processing Project of the Kiburiao Women Socio-Economic Development Organization (KWSDO) located at Barangay Kiburiao, Quezon and Canteen Services and Rice Trading Projects of DAVCO-Laborers Union in San Nicolas, Don Carlos, this province,” Valmores accounted.
The said projects were chosen for documentation based on the criteria that they have the potentials to become successful projects-based on increase in income, production, productivity, and employment generation.
Ma. Liza P. Lacubtan, narrated how their group was able to transform from a mere informal sector group with no clear vision and goals to a now promising women-workers organization engaged in an income-generating, entrepreneurial activities.
Lacubtan recalled the bleak future they were facing before they finally used their idle time to hone their skills for productive self-help activities. In CY 2010, a livelihood assistance in the amount of P425,000, under the former DOLE-Integrated Livelihood Program, and now DILEEP was acquired by the group which greatly increased production volume and meet the demands of their products from growing customers and patrons.
Presently, the women organization generates a net income of more or less P8,000 per month from their meat processing operations and in effect providing employment to their members who are hired as workers involved in the production process.
Among the variety of products distributed by the association are beef, pork and chicken tocino, tapa, longganisa, beef patties, chorizo, organic fruit juices and dairy products.
These products are sold either on cash basis and consignment through marketing agreement forged with the target customers which includes public market stalls, mini-groceries, school canteens and government and private establishments.
“To further attract customers, we, in the association joined livelihood and trade fairs organized by local government units (LGUs), Department of Tourism, and Department of Trade and Industry in the province,” Lacubtan related.
A major concern in their operations is the unavailability of new equipment which could hasten production and increase production volume from an existing 30 kilos per day to 100 kilos of processed in a day.
Meanwhile, the DAVCO Laborers Union’s canteen services project was also one of the projects monitored and documented by the BWSC-DOLE team.
Valmores also accounted that the project started in CY 2010 with a P170,000 funding provided by DOLE-X for a rice trading project which was intended to answer to the needs of the plant and plantation workers who were clamoring for affordable rice.
Last CY 2014, with the encouragement from the DAVCO management, the union decided to expand their project from rice trading to Canteen Services.
This came about due to the closing of the company’s canteen which was being managed by a sole proprietor who opted for non-renewal of her contract with DAVCO.
The management offered the vacated canteen space to be used by the union without rental for a definite period of five years renewable at the option of the company.
“The union was then able to avail of a livelihood enhancement assistance from DOLE-10 amounting to P327,604 which was used for the purchase of kitchen utensils, plates and bowls, glass-panelled display stands and fixtures, tables and chairs, gas and electric stoves. The working capital for the foods and items to be sold in the canteen is the equity-counterpart of the union,” Valmores added.
Rosemarie Lagare, union president, said that unlike before, the workers are now able to avail of affordable, deliciously cooked food and snacks within the vicinity of their workplace.
The management also has an agreement with the union for them to provide meals for workers rendering overtime and this is paid by the management on a monthly basis assuring them of a captured market.
“The canteen services generates a daily gross income of P8,000 per day of which, expenses for labor and production costs are deducted,” Lagare said.
With the strong support of the DAVCO management to the livelihood undertaking of the union, the workers hope that that their project will be sustained and provided more benefits and opportunities not only for them but as well as their families.
Valmores lauded the efforts made by the two organizations in sustaining the DOLE-funded projects and maintaining their strong partnership with the Barangay Government and management.
He has also underscored the capability of the organizations towards transitioning to enterprise level in the future considering its increase in sales, ability to meet the demands for their products and services and employment generation. (Archibald S. Batica/DOLE-X Bukidnon Provincial Field Office)