The P2.26 million grant is part of the DOLE's allocation under the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) Program.

Baldoz, in commending the effort of the regional office, particularly for making the DOLE's livelihood interventions more accessible to more disadvantaged workers in far-flung areas in the region, said:

"The Grassroots Participatory Budgeting program is a novel approach of the government in reaching out to the poorest of the poor through local government units in cooperation with civil society. Under this program, it is the local communities themselves who determine their needs and who formulate solutions to these needs by creating projects suited to their environment, even culture and available resources. They are not to contended with what are "imposed" on them from "above".

Baldoz cited a report of DOLE Regional Office No. 11 Director Joffrey Suyao, who said the grant will fund the computer and cellphone repair shop of the Tagum City Association of PWDs; the arts and crafts skills training cum production for the IPs; the meat processing cum skills training for the 4H Club of Brgy. Busaon in Tagum City; the motorcycle repair shop and spare parts supply venture of the TAFETRASCO tricycle drivers; and the dressmaking livelihood project cum training for their housewives.

Part of the livelihood assistance grant will also finance the establishment of a grain center (Bigasan ng Bayan) of the Tagum City Urban Poor, Inc.; the general merchandise and catering services enterprise of the Magugpo West Women Organization; the catering services cum training for the 4H Club of Visayan Village; and the coconut shell beads and button production of the Tagum City Coconut Farmers Association.

Director Suyao said the regional office continues to support workers in the informal sectors in Region 11 because they are a vital segment that fuels local economies.

"The beneficiaries themselves identified the projects that we are assisting. Being demand-driven, we have always emphasized their ownership of the projects so they will place great value on them and hopefully, this will ensure sustainability," Suyao said.

The DOLE Regional Office, in a ceremony at the Tagum Trade Center, Tagum City, recently turned-over the assistance to Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon, who encouraged the beneficiaries to make sure the livelihood projects grow and prosper.

"Let us take care of these projects to prove our worth. In so doing, we can be assured that there will be more projects to come, not only from DOLE, but also from other government agencies," said Rellon. The local chief executive said his flagship program, dubbed as EAGLE WINGS, identifies livelihood as a priority agenda.

"Aside from the livelihood projects, all beneficiaries were also provided accident insurance amounting to P99, 480," Director Suyao explained. He added that providing insurance is part of the DOLE's commitment to protect the vulnerable segment of society, particularly workers in the informal sectors.

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