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In Ilocos Region, DagupeƱo reaps fruits of NegoKart

 

Thirty-year-old Noel delos Santos of Pugo Grande, Dagupan City has tried various livelihood activities but none of these helped in improving his family’s living conditions.  He became a tricycle driver, then a frozen meat vendor.  His latest venture, “kakanin” or rice cake and Nipa vinegar vending hardly earned profits as he lacked proper training and know-how on business management. 

In 2016, Noel and 59 other vendors were introduced to the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment (DILEEP) through the city government of Dagupan, particularly the Public Employment Service Office (PESO).  As they are already engaged in ambulant vending, he and his co-vendors were found eligible for the Negosyo sa Kariton (NegoKart) project.  The NegoKart provides livelihood assistance for individual ambulant vendors to help them in diversifying their products and earn more income from their vending activities.    

Under the DILEEP, Noel and his co-vendors were assisted from the identification of most viable and feasible projects up to the preparation of project proposal.  To equip them with skills needed for managing a business, they were provided with basic entrepreneurial training in partnership with the local government unit.  In 2016, they received vending carts worth P15,000 each. Of the 60 beneficiaries, Noel was among the three who were permitted by the LGU to set up their business in the commercial area. With the cooperation of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the LGU, the beneficiaries also underwent training on sanitation, food preparation and handling in 2017 to ensure the quality and cleanliness of their food products. 

Noel’s delicacies have become popular among employees from nearby companies, mall goers and passers-by that he now has a solid market, including the Vice-Mayor of Bayambang, Pangasinan, who really loves his empanada and bread rolls.  Also among his best-selling products are “carioca”, which are deep-fried glutinous rice balls coated with caramel; juices and soft drinks.  Recently, he was allowed by the LGU to sell other goods such as spaghetti, palabok and pansit.  He was issued a sanitary permit as a proof that his food products are clean and safe. 

From previous daily earning of P200 to P300 from Nipa vinegar and “kakanin” vending, Noel’s family now earns a net income of P1,000 per day, making it at par or even higher than those employed in private establishments. Their business operates from Monday to Sunday. 

During the monitoring activity conducted by the DOLE-Central Pangasinan Field Office on his project on February 23 2018, Noel was quite emotional in sharing that his family have been able to build a decent house out of their income from the NegoKart.  They started to build the house in 2017. 

“Itinuturing ko po ang bahay namin na parang trophy sa lahat ng pagsisikap naming pamilya.  Maraming salamat po sa DOLE, sa Dagupan City at iba pang ahensiya na nagbigay sa amin ng magandang oportunidad para mapaganda ang aming buhay,” he said. 

Even Noel’s three siblings are benefiting from the NegoKart, as their food products are being sold through the project.  One of his nieces, whose school allowances were sourced through the NegoKart, will be graduating from Senior High School this year. 

With the growth of the business, Noel and his family have their eyes set on putting up their own restaurant or bakeshop in the near future.  He has already started scouting for a location, he shared. 

To help him realize this dream, Noel is willing to undergo enhancement trainings on food preparation, as well as baking. 

The livelihood component of the DILEEP is a grant assistance for capacity building on livelihood for the working poor, vulnerable and marginalized workers, either for individual or group projects.  END/Arly Sta. Ana-Valdez, with report from DOLE-CPFO

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2018-03-19
RD Nat V. Lacambra
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