Being a displaced worker during a health and economic crisis faces a host of issues not only for themselves but also for those with families who heavily rely on their monthly “sahod” (wages) or “kita” (income) to pay their bills and buy essential items.

Bouncing back from a job loss is important and one is considered blessed to get a new source of income, especially during this difficult time where everyone is on their toes for any employment opportunity or a “negosyo” to start with.

That was the case for Gaudencio Carreon, a 50-year old resident of Caloocan City who worked as former security guard of a pawnshop. Like most businesses that struggled due to social and economic consequences of the pandemic, Carreon’s former employer had to shut down operations and laid off workers, including himself. Carreon did not give up, though—in time, he was able to open a small variety store to make ends meet for his wife, only child, and two grandchildren and needed another source of income to help boost their existing livelihood undertaking.

“Sa ngayon po ang pinagkakaabalahan ko ay ang maliit naming sari-sari store. Minsan po ay nakakatulong sa pag-oonline business namin sa pag-deliver ng pagkain,” said Carreon who then became one of the beneficiaries of the DOLE BikeCINATION Project after he sought the assistance of Caloocan City Public Employment Service Office (PESO) and DOLE-NCR CAMANAVA Field Office.

“Sa kabutihang palad ako ay nabigyan ng ayuda sa tulong po ng DOLE, PESO sa aming City Hall, at sa mahal naming Mayor. Maraming salamat po at ito ay aking palalaguin sa abot ng aking makakaya,” added Carreon.

Both a mother of three, former canteen staff Ava Bianca Barraca and former factory worker Erlinda Palomares also looked forward to receive a government assistance through DOLE BikeCINATION Project to help augment their family income. Similar to Carreon, both were also displaced due to business closure.

“Nagtatrabaho ako dati sa isang canteen na malapit sa eskwelahan. Nawalan ako ng trabaho noong nagsarado po yung mga schools noong nagsimula po yung pandemya,” said Barraca, 29 years old from Caloocan City.

“Malaking tulong po ang binigay ng gobyerno dahil magagamit ko po ito para ma-expand, mapalawak at mapaunlad po yung mga iniisip kong negosyo na pwede pong makatulong sa pamilya namin. Sa mga nangangasiwa po ng DOLE at PESO, maraming maraming salamat po,” she added.

“Lumapit ako sa PESO at DOLE dahil baka sakaling matulungan nila ako,” said Palomares, 44 years old from Valenzuela City.

“Dati po ako namabrika eh nagsarado kaya nawalan din po kami ng trabaho. Sa ngayon, naglalako ako ng tinapa, nagdedeliver. Nabigyan ako ng DOLE ng pagkakataon at tinugon ang aking paglapit kaya nakakuha ako ng bike at puhunan na pang-load na may kasamang cellphone. Natuwa ako at sobrang pasasalamat sa mga binibigay nilang tulong sa mga taong katulad ko na hirap at nawalan ng trabaho sa panahon natin ngayon,” she added.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in an effort to contribute to the government’s National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) to facilitate safe and strong economic recovery amidst the pandemic, continuously incentivize fully vaccinated informal economy workers in the A4 category through its BikeCINATION Project that has been providing livelihood opportunities and bridging gap on mobility restrictions.

Carreon, Barraca, and Palomares were among the 212 identified fully vaccinated beneficiaries who qualified to receive a livelihood assistance under the DOLE BikeCINATION Project. DOLE-NCR CAMANAVA Field Office team headed by Director Rowella V. Grande conducted the awarding of assistance to said recipients in October 2021, in partnership with the PESO of concerned local government units (LGU).

Of the said total identified beneficiaries, there were 28 livelihood grants distributed for the constituents of Malabon LGU (October 1, 2021), 28 for constituents of Navotas LGU (October 5, 2021), 100 for constituents of Caloocan LGU (October 18, 2021), and 56 for constituents of Valenzuela LGU (October 22, 2021).

DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III graced the awarding of BikeCINATION Project in Caloocan City together with DOLE-NCR Regional Director, Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol while DOLE-NCR Assistant Regional Director, Atty. Marion S. Sevilla graced activity in Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela City.

END / Hershey Aquino with reports from Angelica Fresnoza and Gillian Sarmiento