Press Releases
DOLE Bicol bags 2nd, 3rd place in Nat'l Best in Kabuhayan Individual, Group Category
Legazpi City — For the first time, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Bicol gained recognition in the 2021 National Kabuhayan Awards, as two of its Livelihood-Assisted Projects – the Glass and Aluminum Works of Jonel Guevarra and Cacao Processing Project of Mayon Farmers Association Inc. in Camalig, Albay bagged 2nd and 3rd winners in the search for “Best DOLE-Assisted Livelihood Project” for individual and group categories, respectively.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello, III warmly acknowledged individuals and groups who have successfully managed their livelihood projects under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) as well as DOLE regional offices and livelihood focal persons for their efforts in providing support to existing and emerging businesses.
“May your triumph inspire others to further seek greater heights and to continuously persevere in the pursuit of a better life,” Bello said.
Jonel Guevarra, a 29-year-old beneficiary from Mercedes, Camarines Norte, who was granted with Kabuhayan Starter Kits from DOLE Bicol through its Camarines Norte Provincial Field Office in August 2017, emerged as the 2nd Best DOLE-Assisted Livelihood Project Awardee for Individual Category nationwide.
“Lubos po akong nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat, lalong-lalo na po sa Department of Labor and Employment, sa tulong na rin po ng DOLE Bicol at Camarines Norte Provincial Field Office at iba pang partners sa ibinigay sa aking oportunidad na umunlad at maging produktibong miyembro ng aming komunidad,” Guevarra said.
His feat in expanding his glass and aluminum cutting business from P20,000 worth of livelihood assistance enabled him to sustain and improve his business.
Guevarra has logged his highest income yet, amounting to P70,000 which he used for the payment of the fabrication of his hauler to save transport or hauling expenses when buying materials and deliveries. With business doing quite well, he has to employ two (2) helpers from his community whom he pays P310 a day. During peak season, he would hire two more workers to meet project schedules and deliverables on time.
He received a plaque of recognition and P40,000 cash award for exhibiting exemplary performance in sustaining his business endeavors.
Jonel emotionally expressed further gratitude, “Isang karangalan po na hiranging 2nd Best Individual Livelihood at labis po akong nagagalak dahil natanggap ko po itong parangal. Ang tagumpay na ito ay nagpapatunay na kapag may tyaga, may nilaga.”
Tunay pong kapag pinahalagahan mo ang isang bagay, ito ay lalago at bubunga. Kagaya po ng aking natanggap na Kabuhayan starter kits mula sa DOLE noong 2017. Hindi po ako sumuko sa mga panahong pinanghihinaan ako, bagkus ay nagsumikap akong ipagpatuloy ang nasimulan kong negosyo,” he added. 
In the group category, the Mayon Farmers Association (MFA) Inc. of Camalig, Albay won the 3rd Best DOLE-Livelihood Assisted Project for their sustainable business on Cacao Processing, and received a P60,000 cash award with a plaque of recognition.
MFA, on the other hand, is a marginalized group of farmers from 38 Barangays of Camalig and Guinobatan, Albay established in 2012 through Muravah Foundation sponsorship that helps local farmers generate profit out of the given financial assistance and available sources provided for their ‘Palay’ and Vegetable Production and ‘Cacao’ Processing Project.

Mayon Farmers provide farming inputs to help out farmers to get higher yields with their crops. Apparently, with the MFA’s limited funds to operate their small Cacao business, only a few farmers were accommodated, and still, it has been tough to provide members with sufficient salaries to support their families’ daily needs.

From 2018 to 2019, MFA only generated about an average of P250,000-P315,000 total net income or an estimated P16,000-P26,500 monthly sales from the Cacao Production.
Things started to look up when Mayon Farmers applied as an Accredited Co-Partner (ACP) for livelihood under the Kabuhayan Program of DOLE Bicol. Luckily, in July 2020, MFA has been selected to benefit livelihood assistance worth P960,512.00.
To market high-quality agricultural products, the said amount has been utilized to purchase machinery for the enhancement of the Cacao Processing Facility in Barangay Sua, Camalig, Albay as well as to provide workers additional income support and generate more employment opportunities to poor farmers in the locality.

MFA Operations Manager, Ms. Lorelyn Bañas, expressed her gratitude to DOLE on behalf of the association, as they reaped honor in the National Kabuhayan Awards and ranked as 3rd for Group Best DOLE Livelihood-Assisted Project for the first time.

“Thank you DOLE for the support you extended to the association. Because of you, we were able to help more members of Mayon Farmers. I hope that there will be more farmers DOLE could extend their assistance, and not just us,” Bañas said.

Success is even more felt by the group of farmers as they profited quadruple net income in the present, reaching 1.4 million or an estimated monthly sale of P100,000-P120,000.

Labor Sec. Bello congratulated all the winners and nominees for their remarkable journey in pursuing their businesses amidst the threat of the global health crisis.

He said, “We have witnessed how your livelihood projects have grown into sustainable and resilient enterprises, and now you have braved the impact of COVID-19.”

For a safe and sustainable re-opening of the economy, Sec. Bello further emphasized that innovations and reforms were made in the implementation of the Livelihood and TUPAD Program under DILP, to hopefully facilitate the restoration of the labor market and improve the employability and productivity of workers.

The DOLE National Kabuhayan Awards is an annual event organized by the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) in coordination with DOLE Regional Offices to reward the relentless efforts and perseverance of individual beneficiaries and associations in sustaining the gains of the DOLE-funded livelihood projects.

Meanwhile, Regional Director Ma. Zenaida A. Angara-Campita extended her heartfelt gratitude for the national recognition received by two of DOLE Bicol’s pride that proved the region’s resiliency in terms of providing emergency employment and livelihood opportunities to informal sectors and transforming them to be part of the formal economy.

“Taos-puso akong nagpapasalamat sa pagkilala at parangal na iginawad sa aming benepisyaryo na si Jonel Guevarra at sa Mayon Farmers Association sapagkat ang tagumpay ng aming mga natulungan na benepisyaryo ay sumasalamin sa pagtutulungan ng DOLE at ng iba pang ahensya ng pamahalaan upang maisakatuparan ang maayos na kabuhayan para sa ating mga manggagawa,” RD Campita said.

In line with the Kabuhayan Awards, DOLE Bicol also gave due recognition to Camarines Sur Provincial Head Renalyn E. Alano as the Best Performing Livelihood Focal and Mr. Ricky A. Hernandez of Camarines Norte Provincial Field Office as the Best Performing TUPAD Focal for their significant efforts in demonstrating efficient response and successful implementation of livelihood and TUPAD flagship program in the regional level.

They were also conferred with Plaque of Recognition and gift certificates for their vital contribution to inclusive economic growth and sustainability of livelihood programs.

Campita further assures that DOLE Bicol will continue to provide genuine support to livelihood services in order to increase employment among vulnerable individuals and assist them in their livelihood ventures toward a stable economy. ###


With a report from Angelica G. Collantes

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