General Santos City- As part of its mandate to support and alleviate the living conditions of the marginalized sector in the region, the Department of Labor and Employment Region XII through its General Santos City Field Office (DOLE-GSCFO) facilitated the release of P400,867.00 worth of DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) rice retailing starter kits to twenty (20) Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) at Barangay Calumpang Gymnasium, this city, on 03 May 2021.

The said PWD beneficiaries are mostly visually impaired and had lost their jobs as spa attendants, masseurs and masseuse in the different health and wellness establishments in the city due to economic downtrend brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lisod kaayo para sa amuang PWDs nga madulaan ug trabaho lalo na karong pandemya, pasalamat kami sa DOLE sa ilang tabang para sa amuang kabuhayan,” said beneficiary Junard Gines.

(Losing our jobs for us PWDs are really hard especially at this time of pandemic, nonetheless, we are thankful to DOLE for helping us start our own livelihood undertaking.)

Present during the release were DOLE-GSCFO Head Conrado Artatez, Labor and Employment Officer II Rodilyn Pastor, and the Barangay Local Government Unit-Calumpang.

In his speech, Chief LEO Artatez manifested his support to the livelihood project of the proponents and added that the Department is sufficiently equipped to reinforce and enhance the projects to make it sustainable and income-generating.

Further, DOLE 12 Regional Director Raymundo Agravante encouraged all displaced/disadvantaged workers in SOCCSKSARGEN to avail of the DOLE programs and services that would help them substantiate their income through livelihood opportunities.

“The Department unceasingly calls for our formal and informal sector workers to take advantage of these assistance and let us do our share and work together in helping our country recover economically by engaging in micro business and entrepreneurial activities.” added RD Agravante.

As of April 25, 2021, a total of fifty-one (51) establishments in the region have permanently closed affecting six hundred twenty-two (622) workers due to the continuing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. End/CDGamboa/SMDumalay