MALAYBALAY CITY (PIA)--As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the world, many people are struggling to make ends meet, including Gina Selitona, a 50-year-old resident of Casisang in Malaybalay City.
She is one of the millions of Filipinos whose financial woes have resulted in stress and sleepless nights. Physically, emotionally, and mentally tired, but still need to face everyday life.
Gina wished to receive assistance from a livelihood project, and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) helped make her dream come true.
Before the pandemic, Gina worked as a cook in an eatery. This helped make up for her husband's small salary so that the family could get by. However, when the pandemic hit, their income stream was disrupted. They were forced to find ways for daily sustenance. Gina and her family used their savings to open a small store in front of their home to sell assorted goods.
DOLE responded to the problem by putting together programs to help people make a living, such as the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP). The program seeks to grant financial assistance to individuals, groups, and local government units (LGUs) in starting, improving, and restoring livelihood projects.
Gina applied for a livelihood grant and was nervous about the result. Nevertheless, she met all the requirements and was awarded a sari-sari and rice retailing starter kit worth P30,000. Despite her lack of marketing and financial management skills, she persevered and learned through online videos.
Raul L. Valmores, DOLE-10 Bukidnon Provincial head, emphasized that through DOLE's flagship programs, eligible individuals can support and boost their economic activities, thus empowering them as productive members of society. The Selitona family is grateful to DOLE for the opportunity to improve their family's economy.
Gina expanded her livelihood to a Karinderya after seeing the stable income from her sari-sari store. Together with her sons, they peddled cooked viands and rice to government offices in Bukidnon Capitol Compound.
Seeing their financial capability grow, the family is currently renovating their home. They added a second floor to their house and expanded the storefront to accommodate and serve more customers.
Gina encouraged other livelihood beneficiaries to be like her and not let their income become stagnant. She said that if there's a slight opportunity to expand the business, one should take the risk.
DILP, or the Kabuhayan Program of DOLE, is a flagship program of the agency that aims to help marginalized groups such as self-employed workers, unpaid family workers, low-waged and seasonal workers, displaced or would-be displaced workers, marginalized and landless farmers, marginalized fisherfolk, women and youth, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, indigenous peoples, victims of armed conflicts, rebel returnees, and parents of child laborers. Through this government intervention, the beneficiaries can address their long-term needs. (DOLE-10/PIA-10/Bukidnon)