Twenty-eight laborers belonging to the Tacurong Cart Services Association (TACASA) and five shoe repairmen or sapaterosreceived livelihood assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in form of Kabuhayan Starter Kits.
The free starter kits, which included fourteen brand new push carts and five sets of materials for shoe repair, were released during Monday’s flag ceremony of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Tacurong on February 4, 2013.
DOLE Sultan Kudarat Provincial Head Arlene Bisnon and City Mayor Lina Montilla led the distribution of said tools and jigs to the beneficiaries witnessed by the officials and employees of the city government.
The provision of livelihood assistance, which is under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) in partnership with LGU-Tacurong, seeks to aid workers in the informal economy or those workers who have no contracts, no fixed hours, and no employment benefits.
            The DILP is another core program cascaded by the DOLE to the PESO as its conduit in the implementation of labor and employment programs in the local level. PESOs already perform other core functions such as job referrals and solicitations, provision of labor market information, and career coaching.
            In her message, Bisnon said that the livelihood starter kits were just the first to be given for Tacurong this year. She said that other sectors in the informal economy can expect assistance in the coming months. “I already talked to the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Manager of the LGU and he is currently identifying other groups to be given starter kits”, Bisnon added.
            Mayor Montilla appreciated the novel approach of DOLE in giving livelihood assistance to its beneficiaries in which instead of cash grants, recipients are given the needed tools and jigs to aid them in their present jobs. “I think this is the kind of livelihood scheme our LGU should replicate to assure the sustainability of livelihood programs”, Mayor Montilla said.
          



           

             TACASA President Danny Absalon, one of the beneficiaries of the free push carts, thanked their benefactors for giving attention to them. Absalon has been pushing carts since 1994 and admitted that most of the carts they are currently using are old and are in need of replacements.

Napakalaking tulong ang mga bagong kariton na bigay ng DOLE dahil may mga myembro kami na ilang taon na sa trabahong ito ngunit wala pang sariling kariton (The new push carts are huge help for us especially to our members who do not even own one since then)”, Absalon said.
            At 41 now, Absalon said that pushing carts in the public market has been his source of livelihood even when he was still single. He said that on ordinary days, he is earning P200-300 daily but his income reaches P500 a day on market days.
            “Ang pagkakariton na ang ikinabubuhay ng pamilya ko subalit malaking gastos pag nagpagawa ako ng bago kaya tinitiis ko na lang ang luma kong kariton. Ang bagong kariton na aming natanggap ang muling magbibigay sa amin ng dagdag na lakas para itaguyod ang aming pamilya (I have been pushing carts almost all of my life; it’s expensive to buy a new one so I just make use of my old cart. The new ones that we received will provide us renewed strength to support our family”, Absalon said.