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A tale of patience, hard work, and livelihood

It wasn’t like this before,” Isidora Aduca, 54, said as she walked through her property, looking at the properly-placed ornamental plants and a pleasant vegetable patch, “we were in a tough situation. Our house was a simple nipa hut—certainly not like this.”

Aduca is a mother of four and a resident of Mangandingay, Cabarroguis Quirino.  She is an ambulant vendor who sells kakanin and has a sari-sari store near her house. Her eyes were glued to her concrete house, as if remembering the challenges she had to go through to make everything she have possible.

I was a farmer but I did not own the land. I went to farm other peoples’ lands and worked other odd jobs just to bring something home,” she spoke timidly. However, her voice did not crack nor her eyes tear up. Mrs. Aduca has witnessed things that are harder than earning below minimum wage.

When she was a farmer, she earned P150 a day. With her hands stained with mud and the other difficulties of farming, she received her salary thinking how she would stretch P150 on food, shelter, and her children’s schooling, with two high school students and two college students at that time. If it’s a fruitful harvest, I would receive P300. But such days rarely came by,” she said.

I cooked snacks back then; my mother taught me how to do so. I would walk town to town to sell kakanin. Every time I did, I contemplated about life, especially the challenges that I was experiencing. But when everything seemed to be over, I saw hope when I became a beneficiary of DOLE Kabuhayan,” she said.

Aduca is among the 50 ambulant vendors and entrepreneurs in Cabarroguis, Quirino who received livelihood assistance through the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) in April 2016. As a kakanin vendor, she received enhancement equipment such as a burner stove and other raw ingredients needed for her business amounting to P11,450.00.

I utilized what I received to improve my business. I am a kakanin vendor, my products include puto, suman, and bibingka. Producing a number a day takes work.

Back then I was producing enough to be sold for a day; nowadays, I can produce hundreds due to additional profit and the equipment I received from DOLE. I can produce 100 puto and 500 suman a day.

Sometimes I receive commissions, especially during events, in which I have to make a thousand pieces of suman. They will order bibingka as well.”

The DILP is a livelihood intervention that is designed to help small-scale businessmen in keeping their business afloat and, in some instances, help the business grow. With the current pandemic, the intervention is a form of relief to the recipients, preventing them from losing their livelihood in these trying times.

According to Aduca, she now earns P1,000.00 a day, a huge increase in income compared to five years ago. “With the money I’m earning, I had a chance to set up a store and buy a transport to ship my products. I even had some help from a friend who helps me sell them. She and I garnered profit from it all,” she said, smiling gladly at her improved situation.

She paused for a moment; breathing in the calm air, saying that together with her husband, they were able to put their children to college. “They are all professionals now. One is serving in the army and the other is in the Bureau of Fire Protection. My daughter is now a permanent employee of LGU Cabarroguis,” Aduca said.

Inside their house, medals and photos of her children adorned the walls, bringing glory to their household. “It really wasn’t like this before. Without patience and the DOLE assistance, we couldn’t have reached this far,” she stated.

DOLE has gracefully provided us assistance. We are truly grateful for it. I hope the program helps more people like us.” ###

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2021-08-20
Directors Corner

DIRECTOR JOEL M. GONZALES


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