Months after the closure of the Central Azucarera Don Pedro Inc. (CADPI) Sugar Mill in Nasugbu, Batangas, 58-year-old Ms. Cholita Jonson can still vividly recall the exact moment the management of the company announced that they lost her job as a disbursing staff of the company.
“Lahat kami na-shock. Ang iba nag-iyakan kasi ang iba ay mga bata pa,” Ms. Jonson shared.
To assist displaced workers like Ms. Jonson in starting a new life after being engaged in wage employment, the Department of Labor and Employment 4A - Batangas Provincial Office (DOLE BPO) released a total of 66 livelihood packages during a turnover program held at the grounds of the Balayan Government Center and Kutawtaw Gym, Balayan, Batangas, August 31.
For Ms. Jonson, the ‘sari-sari’ store package will serve as their new source of income outside wage employment.
“Malaking bagay kasi sa ngayon talaga, wala kaming alam kung paano pa susuportahan [ang pamilya]. Kasi nabigla kami nung natanggal ay wala naman sa plano kaya malaking bagay ‘yan talaga. Makakatulong sa kabuhayan namin…Salamat po, hindi kami pinabayaan,” she remarked.
CAPTION: Former CADPI employee Ms. Cholita Jonson from Lian, Batangas, received a ‘sari-sari’ store package from the DOLE IV-A Batangas Provincial Office during the turnover ceremony led by Senior Labor and Employment Officer, Mr. Darius Allan B. Lubis.(Photo by April Rose Magpantay/ DOLE-BPO)
Aside from displaced workers, Ms. Mary Grace Panganiban, one of the parents of profiled child laborers who work in the sugarcane field and were affected by the recent closure of the sugar milling plant also received livelihood packages.
According to Ms. Panganiban, her two children used to work with her in the sugarcane field in order to help with their day-to-day expenses at home considering that she is raising a total of 11 children.
CAPTION: Ms. Mary Grace Panganiban of Nasugbu, Batangas, a parent of one of the profiled child laborers working in the sugarcane field, received a sari-sari store package from the DOLE IV-A - Batangas Provincial Office.(Photo by April Rose Magpantay/ DOLE-BPO)
“Nagpapasalamat ako at dumating na ang kinakailangan namin para ang mga bata ay dire-diretso na ang pag-aaral, may pagkukuhanan na ang mga anak ko. Malaking tulong na rin…Pangarap ko talaga na may grocery ako na ganyan kalaki kaya ako’y natuwa at dumating na…Maraming salamat, malaking tulong sa mga katulad namin,” Ms. Panganiban shared.
During the turnover program, DOLE BPO Senior Labor and Employment Officer, Mr. Darius Allan Lubis, emphasized that the department continues to provide assistance to displaced and affected workers due to the closure of the aforementioned sugar milling plant.
CAPTION: Mr. Darius Lubis shared the continuous action of the department in meeting the needs of the displaced and affected sugarcane workers. (Photo by April Rose Magpantay/ DOLE-BPO)
“Ito po ay tugon ng DOLE dahil sa nangyaring krisis sa pag-aasukal dito sa unang distrito...Mayroon po tayong mga empleyado ng nagsarang CADPI, mayroong mga magho-hornal, mayroon din pong small farm cultivators...Nawa po ay mapaulad ninyo itong kabuhayan,” Mr. Lubis remarked.
Meanwhile, DOLE BPO Livelihood Development Specialists, Mr. Robert Rodelas and Ms. Rozil Regodos facilitated the release of the packages in coordination with the local government unit of Balayan, Batangas for the venue of the turnover program.
With the release of these livelihood packages, the department believes that affected sugarcane workers can start their lives anew and create a better future for their families.