Mati City –  “Walang maiiwan at lahat tayo ay uunlad” (No one shall  be left behind and all of us will succeed).  But how can we draw and include the marginalized sectors in the social and economic mainstream of our country?”.  Such were the assuring and yet challenging statements of Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad of the Department of Labor and Employment during the turn-over ceremony of livelihood assistance worth 4.5 Million on December 1, 2015 at Pelaez Gym in Mati City.

“One of the answers is massive employment generation in the informal sector through our DOLE- Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program and Bottom-up Budgeting Program”, Lagunzad said.   He expounded further that the awarding of 56 sewing machines and the garments raw materials for the Mati Women’s Association, the nego-karts for the street vendors, and the certificate of entitlements to the 405 beneficiaries are part of the whole package of capacitating the beneficiaries to become contributor of our economic activities.  “Whenever employment opportunities are created, everybody has the opportunity to be successful, self-sufficient and self-reliant”, he concluded.

DOLE-Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) is the DOLE’s contribution to the governments’ agenda of inclusive growth through massive job generation and substantial poverty reduction.  It provides start-up capital solely for the purchase of raw materials, equipment, tools and other support services necessary in setting up business or enterprise.

“These projects will really address the goal of the city to reduce, and if not eliminate poverty incidence”.  These were the emotion-fuelled statements of Mayor Carlo Rabat as he assisted in distributing the equipment to the respective beneficiaries.  He added that “the city cannot do it alone in freeing our constituents from the bondage of poverty. We need to converge more with DOLE XI in order to achieve the city and national goal of poverty reduction”.

“We are very grateful to DOLE for this Garments Making and Patahian Livelihood Project”, said Baby Rabat, Mati Women’s Association (MWA) adviser.  “Imagine, 350 women will have the opportunity to work and earn for a living.  It is really a big help to the unemployed women”, she added.

The turn-over ceremony and ribbon cutting of the Mati Women Patahian and Productivity Center was also attended by Congressman Nelson Dayanghirang, DOLE XI Director Joffrey Suyao, Mati City Vice Mayor Glenda Rabat, city councillors, department heads and the 800 beneficiaries and their families.

“I am deeply touched by the happy faces of the farmers, vendors, fishers, senior citizens and women after receiving their respective livelihood projects.   This is people empowerment in the grassroots”, said Congressman Dayanghirang.

R. Castro, DOFO