Providing livelihood undertakings to create community entrepreneurship is one of the best means that the government offers to address the concern of unemployment and underemployment in the country.

This gives life to the Integrated Livelihood Program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that aims to provide livelihood assistance through entrepreneurial ventures for the marginalized and vulnerable sector of the society.

With the innate entrepreneurial skills that the Filipinos have, the DOLE-National Capital Region (NCR) through its CAMANAVA Field Office in coordination with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Caloocan provided livelihood packages to 51 beneficiaries on July 15 and August 4, 2021 at the Buena Park Clubhouse, UE Subdivision, Caloocan City.

With the total assistance amounting to P510,000.00, the livelihood packages included Sari-sari store (22 beneficiaries), Sewing business (15 beneficiaries), Bigasan (5 beneficiaries), Pastry & Bread making (2 beneficiaries), Food (Almusalan) vending (2 beneficiaries), Mushroom production (1 beneficiary), Frozen food (1 beneficiary), Egg retailing (1 beneficiary), Upholstery business (1 beneficiary), and Arnis production (1 beneficiary).

Beneficiaries included home-based workers, self-employed individuals, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.

As one of the former recipient of the DOLE livelihood formation and now a livelihood enhancement beneficiary, Tecla Olayan from Caloocan City remained driven to keep her business afloat amidst the pandemic.

“Dati namamasukan ako sa pabrika, 16 years hanggang sa nabigyan ako ng makina at nagsimula na akong gumawa na lang sa bahay. Nai-refer din ako sa isang school sa Malabon para mag supply ng mga uniforms. 5 years na ako ang gumagawa para sa kanila, natigil lang dahil nga pandemic. Ngayon, patuloy pa din ako sa pananahi—ngayon naman ng mga facemask, repair ng mga damit ng kapitbahay,” said Olayan who received a new set of sewing machine during the ceremonial turnover of goods.

Caloocan City LGU’s Public Employment Service Office headed by Violeta Y. Gonzales recalled Olayan’s inspirational story and hoped that other beneficiaries have the same drive in nurturing the livelihood projects provided by the government even during this difficult time.

“Olayan invested in her skills to help nurture her sewing business. Her livelihood project won the Best Livelihood in Metro Manila in 2017 where she also won a cash prize as an additional capital for her business. We are hoping that this story inspire other beneficiaries,” said Gonzales.

END / Report and photos by Angelica Fresnoza and Rea Paulyn Mercado