Mr. Loreto, Jr., an inspiration of how one can – even from meager beginnings – climb above the confines of the past

Mr. Loreto Justo, Jr. with his family, featuring some of his baked products such as cupcakes and regular-sized cakes

“Mahirap ang buhay, pero kailangan nating maging mas matatag, matalino, at madiskarte. Dapat natin mas mapabuti ang ating mga kakayanan para kumita ng marangal (Life is tough, but we have to be tougher,  smarter, and more resourceful. Skills should be improved to earn more in an honest way),were the inspiring words of Mr. Loreto Justo, Jr., during an interview conducted by the staff of Department of Labor and Employment – Apayao Satellite Office.

Mr. Loreto Boromeo Justo, Jr., was one of the TUPAD beneficiaries who worked for ten (10) days at Barocboc, Sta. Marcela, Apayao, sometime last December 2021. His relentless effort, resourcefulness, and persistence are the ingredients that warm his ongoing sweet success story.

An electrician by profession, Mr. Justo’s primary source of income was severely affected due to the travel and health restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. His family’s income from their humble sari-sari/small retail store was similarly affected at that time.

As the pandemic peaked during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantines sometime mid-March 2020, they were forced to close their retail business last May 2020.

The increasing spread of the virus caused further health and economic strain in their area, which compelled them to the reopening of their modest store by late 2020.

Fortunately for Mr. Justo, he became a worker-beneficiary under the DOLE flagship program of TUPAD or the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers from November to December 2021. Come January 2022, he felt motivated to attend a “Bread and Pastry Training” sponsored by the Local Government Unit of Sta. Marcela, Luna, Apayao.

Mr. Loreto Jr.’s custom cake made for his six year old son’s birthday

Upon receipt of his salary from TUPAD, he thought of a way to further generate sustainable income for his family’s needs – this brought about the idea of starting a bread and pastry shop.  Thus, he combined his TUPAD wage, and income from their retail store to purchase baking tools such as a portable oven, stand mixer, cake molder, baking pan, and dough weighing machine. He started producing bread and pastry products such as cakes, based on the demand of their customers.

At present, Mr. Justo’s family is supported by their sari-sari store, and bread and pastry businesses. He continues moonlighting as an electrician whenever he can for additional finances, and plans on purchasing additional goods to grow their retail store and bread and pastry businesses.

Yung mga assistance na binibigay at tinatamasa natin galing gobyerno ay dapat nating gamitin ng tama para hindi ito masayang. Mas maiging gamitin natin sa business kahit maliit basta kumikita, kaysa sa sayangin sa bisyo natin o gagamitin minsanan tapos bukas wala na (The assistance we receive from the government should be used appropriately so that it won’t be wasted. It’s better to use it for our business, even if its small, rather than waste it on  vices, or a one-time purchase),” he said.

Mr. Loreto Boromeo Justo, Jr.’s story is an inspiration of how one can – even from meager beginnings – climb above the confines of the past.

end//Daryll B. Ponard