Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz the other day led DOLE and Smart Communications, Inc. regional officials in launching in Tacloban City a livelihood restoration project under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) that will turn 1,300 Typhoon Yolanda survivors to become Smart ‘e-loaders’, or vendors of Smart phone cards, in addition to their other vending activities.

Baldoz, together with Mr. Rex Quisumbing, representing Alfredo Callet, Smart’s Regional Sales Manager, and DOLE Regional Office No. 8 Director Exequiel Sarcauga handed over the first 100 Smart phones to the project beneficiaries and awarded DOLE livelihood grants of jigs and tools and raw materials worth P760,000.

The awarding was held during a short program at the DOLE regional office in Tacloban City after Secretary Baldoz, Director Sarcauga, and Mr. Quisumbing signed a memorandum of agreement formalizing the livelihood restoration partnership.

The agreement calls for Smart to support the DILP and assist in its implementation. It also commits Smart to provide an equity in the project in the form of cellular mobile phones and Smart e-loading SIM card to enable beneficiaries to sell Smart phone load on retail.

“This partnership with Smart Communications on the DILP will benefit survivors of Typhoon Yolanda who have demonstrated their resiliency by engaging in entrepreneurship to improve their livelihood immediately after the typhoon,” said Baldoz, who explained that recipients of the Smart livelihood business are already beneficiaries of the DILP.

“Because you are already tested as small entrepreneurs through our DILP, I am sure you will take care of the ‘e-loading business’ Smart has given you to increase your incomes,” Baldoz said.

Smart has pledged to increase the number of its e-load business beneficiaries in Tacloban City to 1,300.

One of the recipients of the Smart phones is Evelyn Sabungan who, as barangay captain of Brgy. 50, brought with her 25 DILP beneficiaries who are into various vending and retail activities. The 25 beneficiaries each received a Smart phone with SIM for their ‘e-load’ business and P10,000 each in the form of goods, raw materials, and tools and jigs for their various business activities

“Maraming-marami pong salamat sa DOLE at sa Smart sa tulong na pang-negosyo na ibinigay sa aking mga kabarangay. Napakalaking bagay po ito sa amin,” Sabungan said, singling out Leonita Arevalo and Teresa Narag, employees of DOLE Regional Office No. 2, who helped organize the 25 DILP beneficiaries from Brgy. 50 into small business entrepreneurs. Arevalo and Narag are part of the DOLE’s contingent teams assisting DOLE Region 8 staff in the rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts.

Other beneficiaries of the DILP livelihood grant and Smart ‘e-load’ business beneficiaries are 26 barangay residents of Brgy. 69, Tacloban City, who came with their barangay captain, Noel Tabao, and 25 residents of Brgy. 72, also in Tacloban City, who came in full force with their Punong Barangay Raul Asensi.

Barangay Captains Tabao and Asensi emotionally thanked Secretary Baldoz and the DOLE regional office for the livelihood assistance.

“Umulan, umaraw, bumagyo, lumindol, nariyan po ang DOLE sa pangunguna ni RD Ondo Sarcauga, Madam Secretary, at tumutulong sa amin. Umasa po kayo na pararamihin namin ang negosyong ibinigay ninyo,” said Asensi to the applause of the audience.

END

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