Fishermen in Guian, Eastern Samar and other coastal areas in the country will may soon ply their trade using fiber glass boats and bottle or can their produce for higher market value.

Crop and vegetable growers in Jaro, Leyte could produce assorted bakery products, veggie noodles, and brown rice.

In Basey, Samar, occasional, indigenous mat weavers could soon become regular income-earners as handicraft artisans. The possibilities are endless.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo bared this to the media yesterday as they outlined the contents in the menu of technologies that poor, vulnerable, and marginalized workers, including workers displaced by natural calamities, and returning OFWs and their families, could benefit from under the DOLE-DOST Convergence Program on Technology-Driven, Resources Based, and Sustainable Livelihood.

The priority technologies for livelihood include indigenous handicraft-making, fiber glass bancas, fold-away shelter, ceramic water pot filter, bakery products, charcoal briquetting, veggie noodles, waste recycling, complementary baby foods, smokehouse kits, fish canning and bottling, fish and squid drying, vacuum packing, fish fillet, and minced fish.

“We have even developed a local technology that increases the gold yield of ores, which is very environment- and employment-friendly,” said Montejo.

The occasion was the launching of the three-year partnership between the DOLE and the DOST that will address the need for sustainable livelihood and employment opportunities through technology-based and innovation-led entrepreneurship that utilizes local resources.

The DOLE and the DOST will implement the program in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“We are aiming to develop “techno-preneurs”, Filipinos who are engaged in livelihoods using available local resources and technologies developed by the DOST. This convergence program is designed to assist local workers, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and Yolanda victims in their livelihood undertakings,” said Secretary Baldoz after she and Secretary Montejo signed a memorandum of agreement on the convergence program.

“The objective of this program is to transform entrepreneurs to become “techno-preneurs” through innovation and to help build climate-resilient communities and sustainable enterprises,” Baldoz said.

“In speaking of a resilient community, we do not just mean resilience in the economic sense, but also resilience in the face of climate change and other newly-emerging challenges,” Secretary Montejo stated, adding:

“This latest partnership between the DOST and the DOLE is a sharp departure from the traditional to the innovative way of providing people with new livelihood opportunities to hold on to, and in so doing, encourage them to move on in life with renewed hopes—all these to be technology/innovation-led.”

Baldoz and Montejo said they will announce in a month’s time the progress of the convergence program’s implementation.

The convergence program calls for the DOLE to provide working capital in the form of raw materials, equipment, tools, and jigs; skills and entrepreneurship training and training on productivity, safety and health; training on organizational development; and facilitation of enrolment to micro-insurance and other social protection.

On the part of the DOST, it is committed to provide information on raw materials and current market demand, in coordination with the DA and the DTI; common service facility; business and technology incubation; business and technology center; innovation and knowledge center; and climate change mitigation.

The program, to be implemented from 2014-2016, aims to reach or benefit 100,000 vulnerable workers this year, such as parent of child laborers, marginalized and landless farm workers, fishery workers, small transport workers, home-based workers, vendors, waste workers, and non-corporate construction workers.

END

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