The town of Sarangani, Davao del Sur has been dubbed Davao region’s last frontier, it being so remote. But this has not stopped the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office No. 11, which has converged with other national government agencies (NGAs), from bringing government program and services ‘within the reach’ of the town’s fisherfolk through the ‘Serbisyo Caravan’.
Geographically, Sarangani is the farthest municipality of the province, and as such, it was the made the first stop of the region-wide Caravan during which the DOLE regional office awarded P450,000 worth of livelihood assistance in the form of fishing gears and tools to 100 Sarangani fisherfolk.
In a report to Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, DOLE RO11 Director Joffrey Suyao said the regional office’s active involvement in the Caravan demonstrates the DOLE’s and its partner agencies’ unified strategy in making government programs and services, particularly livelihood, accessible to more disadvantaged workers in far-flung areas in the region.
“The Caravan provided a venue for the people of the town to interact with government officials, including us at the DOLE,” said Director Suyao, who had brought with him over P3.1 million worth of livelihood assistance for 1,575 disadvantaged Dabawenyo workers.
The Serbisyo Caravan is a convergence project of the Association of Regional Executives of National Agencies (ARENA-XI) composed of 45 national government and local agencies in the region. It served as a one-stop-shop for government’s programs and services.
After Sarangani, the DOLE regional office joined the Caravan in other four provinces in the region. In Governor Generoso town in Davao Oriental, it awarded P400,000 financial grant for the fishing project of 100 fisherfolk and P169,285 worth of cosmetology starter kits and for the garments and bag-making venture of 60 persons with disabilities. And in Mati City, also in Davao Oriental, it granted P465,000 for the livelihood enhancement project of 222 fisherfolk.
The Caravan also graced the recent 12th Araw ng Digos, with the DOLE awarding P425,000 to 80 ambulant vendors for their food vending project.
In the last leg of the Caravan at Kapalong, Davao del Norte, the regional office extended assistance to workers by awarding over P1.2 million worth of livelihood projects. Of this amount, P602,000 worth of raw materials were granted for the banana chips production and peeling of 280 women workers, out-of-school-youth and farmers; P50,000 worth of starter kits on fashion jewelry-making and tribal accessories-making for 196 PWDs; P50,000 worth of cosmetology kits for 120 women and youth; P300,000 worth of Negosyo To-Go for 99 youth workers in the Island Garden City of Samal;  P120,000 livelihood grant for the native chicken raising and ice cream making project of 60 informal sector workers; and P100,000 worth of materials and ingredients for banana flour delicacies-making for 97 women and farmers.
“All of these grant assistance are under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Project,” said Director Suyao.
Baldoz lauded the convergent effort of the agencies in the region, saying that the rest of the16 DOLE regional offices should continue their proactive participation in convergent programs with local government units and partner agencies to further solidify the shared commitment to ensure the viability and sustainability of the DOLE’s programs and services aimed at alleviating poverty alleviation and facilitating job generation at the local level.
“The convergence of the DOLE with other government agencies will ensure the success of projects, maximize the use of limited government funds, and impact more clearly on the lives of our people in terms of sustainable incomes,” Baldoz said.
“This also means faster implementation of programs and efficient and effective delivery of services to more workers, even those in the remote areas. With convergence, we are translating into action our philosophy to “enable the people to feel the DOLE,” she ended.