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PIA Press Release

DOLE, RCMBMPC, COMET turn over LAWA livelihood project

Beneficiaries optimistic of bright prospects

By Rtn. Gervacio C. Dauz, Jr.

Los Angeles, Butuan City (26 October) -- It took more than a year of planning and inception before the Cassava Flour Production Project finally took off the ground, "but it's worth the wait," thus said the Los Angeles Women's Association beneficiaries here, who glowed and bellowed because of the bright prospects that it can deliver for them.

Why can't they when the project itself is worth the whooping sum of PhP413,000.00, which was gradually realized through a collaborative stake of land, labor and capital tempered with passion and perseverance, and tendered by at least four entities - to include them.

Hence, in kind and/or cash, the Department of Labor and Employment Caraga Region provided the amount of PhP328,000.00; the Rotary Club of Metro Butuan Multi-Purpose Cooperative imparted its leg-working and consultancy services as Accredited Co-Partner (ACP) to the tune of PhP30,000.00; the LAWA beneficiaries themselves shared PhP10,000.00 for food for work and other contingencies; and the Cane Optimum Metals Engineering Technology, Industries (COMET, Ind.) of Engr. Roderico B. Cane shelled out at least PhP45,000.00 as stake to realize the project. But the summation of stake went beyond the estimated cost as COMET, Ind. likewise lent the land and brand new building pro bono for at least three to five years for the livelihood project to whirl and spin to a good start.

To ignite such potential and release them to pursue their desire of launching the project, the DOLE, RCMBMPC and COMET, Ind. officially turned over to them the livelihood project recently amidst cheers and optimism that a bright prospect lay ahead for them.

Engr. Cane, who fabricated many of the equipment at a rock bottom price, pointed out with confidence that their project is "flexible and versatile in terms of products that could be churned out". Not only cassava flour, but other products also," this he said. And he counted on his fingers that they can add at least five other types of products: ube flour, coco flour, banana flour, and even dried fish and dried mangoes. As if prophetic, he foresaw the day when many of them - who are currently his piece rate workers at the Joy Table Sauce Factory - would not remain as employees, but will go on as employers in the near future. "But you have to sacrifice and stay united," this he cautioned.

Assistant Regional Director Romeo Cagas of DOLE Region XIII waxed poetic in encouraging them to strive and be counted as useful citizens. He informed them that DOLE's role is to facilitate employment and added a challenge with a dangling carrot: "We hope to provide you with additional support - that is if you will handle the project superbly."

Afterwards, he handed over the PhP50,000.00 in check, which represents the final tranche of the DOLE's support to LAWA. The fund will be used as seed capital for them to purchase raw materials, such as cassava, in order for them to keep the equipment toiling and whining with products.

Dr. Aurora Zaportiza, PESO Manager of Butuan City and who represents City Mayor Democrito Plaza II, lauded the project itself as a collaboration of various actors. She pointed out that her office, as a matter of policy, would be closely monitoring the project in order to use it as a benchmark or role model - that is, if it succeeds.

Abelardo F. Garcia, Jr., Charter President of the Rotary Club of Metro Butuan (RCMB) and the pioneering Chair of the RCMBMPC, shared also that the realization of the project was littered with "blood, toils, tears, and sweat." Being an ACP, he admitted, "is not a walk in the park; we carry with us the responsibility and accountability of facilitating the realization and success of the project." At the bottom line, he urged the beneficiaries to make the most out of such opportunity, because "the future - your future - lies in your hands already."

John Uy, current President of RCMB, likewise shared his thoughts to them in a philosophical manner: "Now we, in the Rotary Club, simply perceived ourselves to be like a wind beneath the wings of our beneficiaries. We have tried helping you soar like an eagle, but you have to do the flapping. Obviously, there will be moments that the wind would no longer be there. But we urge you to just keep on flapping until you reach your desired destiny. This means that you need to unite, sacrifice, and persevere no matter what. According to Washington Irving: 'Great minds have purposes; others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.'"

With aplomb, District Governor Antonio Veneracion of Rotary International District 3860, who came all the way from General Santos City, shared also that "We in the Rotary always seeks avenues to serve the likes of you." That's why "in the communities where we are serving, we always seek to empower our beneficiaries to become productive. And we will feel successful and effective only when you least depend on us in the end." In conclusion, he urged the beneficiaries to give glory to God for such a wonderful breakthrough, and especially when they have been successful already as entrepreneurs.

Elvira Tolentino, President of LAWA, rose up to the challenge in response, declaring the group's commitment for them to be good stewards of the livelihood breakthrough that would help in alleviating them from the throes of helplessness and grinding poverty. (PIA) [top]

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