April 21, 2024

The Cordillera is an extensive chain of mountains or mountain ranges where some of the most impoverished communities in the Philippines are getting livelihood grants through the Department of Labor and Employment Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) to meet their basic needs.
A few years back, the DOLE visited Madongo, Banga-an, Tanulong, Pide, Fidelisan, and Aguid villages in Sagada, Mountain Province to promote the convergence of services for the protection of children and to provide livelihood to the residents of these communities.
All over the country, mothers are faced with a common dilemma – balancing the care of their children with contributing to the household income. The women of Aguid, Sagada are no different. Eight years ago, the DOLE provided a livelihood grant to Aguid People’s organization for the Community Enterprise Development on Etag Production Project unfortunately, production was discontinued after their working area was burned.
Giving hope to some Aguid residents, entrepreneur Jennifer Rimando continued her grandfathers’ legacy by growing coffee in the forest. She and her family manage the Ola Organic Coffee Farms in Aguid. She employs women and encourages them to grow coffee in their backyards. Planting coffee under the pine trees is not only an additional source of income. It has also encouraged many members of the community to protect their forest and ancestral domain. They established a coffee farm in the mountain as a way of building an agroforest and surprisingly civet cats popularly known as musang and birds that migrated return to their forests, especially during harvest season.
Forty-five-year-old Jojo, a resident of Fidelisan spends most of his day waiting for foreign tourists to trek the Bomod-ok Falls. However, the long hike going to Bomod-ok Falls, a tourist destination, reveals that the harvest of indigenous farmers is in peril. Most of Jojo’s siblings and relatives are farmers and they too complain of more rice paddies drying up. Jojo has not been able to work in the mines since 2013 after he suffered serious injuries when the dynamite he and his fellow miners used inside the tunnel exploded prematurely. He has no pension or any other income. Jojo occasionally receives food and some money from his siblings, but they have their own families to look after and can only help him sporadically. Sometime in 2012, the DOLE provided livelihood to parents of child laborers a Soya production project. They started making soya products but their initial attempts didn’t go well. Ingredients they have to purchase are expensive and unprocessed soya beans got spoiled easily due to pest and rodents getting into their stocks and transportation is costly.
In the long term, however, local communities went back to struggling with old problems in harsher-than-normal conditions. Lack of job opportunities and dependence to family members in the big cities or abroad, all aggravated by the devastation brought by the two typhoons that hit the Cordillera in 2018, destroying the crops. The livelihood program is bringing much-needed relief to some of the neediest communities in the Cordillera.
DILP or the Kabuhayan program of DOLE is a flagship program of the agency that aims to help marginalized groups such as self-employed workers who are unable to earn sufficient income, unpaid family workers, low-waged and seasonal workers, workers displaced or to be displaced, marginalized and landless farmers, marginalized fisherfolk, women and youth, persons with disability, senior citizens, indigenous peoples, victims of armed conflicts, rebel returnees, and parents of child laborers.
Under DILP, associations with 15 to 25 members may receive a grant of up to P250,000 while P500,000 is granted to associations with 26 to 50 members. Associations with 51 members above may get up to one million pesos grant.
The Kabuhayan program requires association to register at DOLE to avail the program. DILP also helps individual projects where qualified beneficiaries may get starter kit or the Negosyo sa Kariton (Nego-Kart) with P20,000 financial aid. However, beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and government employees including those at the local government units are not eligible to the program.
In its bid to fete best practices in implementing the DILP, DOLE has institutionalized the Kabuhayan awards, an annual recognition of individuals and groups who have successfully managed their DOLE-assisted livelihood projects.
The process, rules, and regulations governing the selection of the best DOLE-assisted livelihood projects at the regional and national levels were institutionalized through Administrative Order 32 s. 2020 which was issued by Sec. Silvestre Bello III recently. Through the Kabuhayan awards, the DOLE aims to recognize and reward outstanding DOLE-assisted livelihood projects and showcase their best practices to serve as an inspiration to other beneficiaries and also to recognize our partners as well as DOLE regional offices and their livelihood focal persons for their contributions in implementing the DILP.
The Kabuhayan awards has two main categories – the major awards and special awards. The major awards are composed of the best individual project and best group project; while the special awards are composed of top-performing regions in livelihood implementation, top-performing regions in sustainable livelihood framework implementation, best in video documentation, best performing livelihood focal person, best local government unit and best accredited co-partner implementing DILP, and recognition of Public Employment Service Office managers of the national winners.
Entries will be judged based on their relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and impact. Aside from the evaluation criteria, the administrative order also spells out the required documents and deadline on the submission of entries, the composition of selection committees, and rules in a selection of awardees per category. The search for nominees for this year’s awards is slated May 29. The winners will receive plaque and cash awards.