DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III emphasized the importance of a prosperous relationship between workers and employers as an essential factor to enable sustainable industrial climate while lasting industrial peace is achieved by advocating for worker and employer rights as an important factor in business growth.

In the face of challenges during this time of pandemic, we must keep a balance. We must ensure full protection of the workers, as well as to give due consideration to the rights of enterprises to reasonable returns to expansion and growth.

The Secretary states that maintaining industrial peace is a shared responsibility both workers and employers must practice properly through compliance with the existing labor laws and proper practices that can improve productivity and expand various enterprises.

The need for the enhancement of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises’ (MSMEs) competitiveness by providing training programs to entrepreneurs while supplying technical assistance in outlining incentive schemes based on productivity.

A flagship program of the DOLE that provides grant assistance for capacity-building on livelihood and entrepreneurial ventures for vulnerable and marginalized workers is the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program and Emergency Employment Programs (DILEEP) is one with government’s agenda of poverty reduction and inclusive development, the DOLE, through the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) implements the DILEEP.

The Program seeks to contribute to poverty reduction and reduce the vulnerability to risks of the working poor, vulnerable and marginalized workers either through emergency employment, and promotion of entrepreneurship and community enterprises.

The program components of DILP are Kabuhayan Formation which provides beneficiaries with startup capital to venture into individual livelihood, or collective enterprise undertakings; Kabuhayan Enhancement offer existing livelihood undertakings with additional working capital to enable them to grow into viable and sustainable business while Kabuhayan Restoration make available working capital for the re-establishment of lost or damaged livelihoods due to occurrence of natural disasters/calamities.

The services that can be provided for DILP beneficiaries include the provision of training on business planning, basic entrepreneurship development training, productivity and workers safety and health, and production skills; provision of working capital in the form of raw materials, equipment, tools and jigs and other support services. Support services such as common service facility and training-cum-production can also be funded; enrolment to group micro insurance scheme; provision of continuing technical and business advisory services.

The classification of livelihood projects for group category are the Microlivelihood which is an organization composed of 15-25 members can avail of a maximum grant assistance of P250,000.00; Small Livelihood is the organization which composes 26-50 members can avail of a maximum grant assistance of P500,000.00 and the Medium Livelihood which is an organization composed of more than 50 members can avail of a maximum grant assistance of P1,000.000.00.

It should be noted that an organization managing a group project should have a Project Management Team and Profit Sharing Scheme, which should be both stipulated in the business plan/proposal and in the MOA. The amount of assistance depends on the project requirement.

There is also livelihood projects classified for the individual category. Individual beneficiaries can avail of the Starter Kit or Negosyo sa Kariton (Nego-Kart), up to a maximum grant assistance of P 20,000.00, depending on the project requirement.

The eligible beneficiaries of the DILP are Self-employed workers who are unable to earn sufficient income; Unpaid family workers; Low-waged and seasonal workers; Workers displaced or to be displaced; Marginalized and landless farmers; Marginalized fisher-folks; Women and Youth; Persons with Disability; Senior Citizens; Indigenous Peoples; Victims of Armed Conflicts; Rebel Returnees and parents of child laborers.

Beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and Government Employees, including those at the Local Government Units (LGUs) are not eligible.

The eligible projects that the beneficiaries can venture in are the priorities of the Regional Development Council (RDC), Regional Convergence Committee (RCC) and the Regional Development Plan of Local Government Units.

Industries identified as key employment generators like agribusiness, information technology, health and wellness, wholesale and retail trade, tourism, etc. and DTI priority products, for example food processing, cacao, coffee, coco coir, wearable and home styles).

The following projects are not eligible: (1) Micro-lending projects; (2) Projects with construction works; (3) Projects that would require purchase of motor vehicles, only tractors, trailers and traction engines of all kinds used exclusively for agricultural purposes could be funded.

END/Patrick T Rillorta