Street food vendor in Southern Leyte prosper thanks to DOLE's livelihood program

Through its DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has consistently helped needy informal workers. Photo: DOLE Region 8

TACLOBAN CITY — Through its DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has consistently helped deserving, and in-need informal workers support their livelihoods over the years.

Melfo O. Bitor, a 28-year-old former saleslady from Sogod, Southern Leyte, who tried her luck selling fishball and kikiam with a capital of only P150.00, is one of the many people who will benefit from the program.

A livelihood starter kit for her street food business worth P12,310.00 was given to Melfo by DOLE Regional Office No. 8 through the Southern Leyte Field Office (SLFO) in February 2021.

With determination and gratitude at her side, Melfo worked hard to run her company successfully. Her family's living circumstances improved thanks to the DOLE assistance, which helped them generate a daily net income of P2,500.00.

Melfo was able to purchase a second food cart in Sogod, which she set up next to a department store, with the money she made from the revenue she received from the vending cart she had at the Sogod Terminal.

She and her family faced numerous difficulties along the way because life isn't perfect all the time. Typhoon Odette, which hit the province of Southern Leyte in December 2021, left her husband hospitalized due to COVID, and their home was severely damaged. These depleted her savings, but Melfo did not lose focus on her objective and was able to overcome the difficulties.

A snack house where customers can eat in and enjoy their favorite street food was recently opened by Melfo in front of another department store in Sogod. This is her third street food location.

Melfo now offers a variety of snacks, including potato fries, kwek-kwek, siomai, and some beverages, in addition to fishballs and kikiam. In their place, her small business is now a popular street food. Melfo couldn't help but cry with joy as she remembered her beginnings.

"Hindi ko po inakala na magiging ganito kami. Ang hirap talaga nung una, dahil maliit lang ang kita naming mag-asawa. Yung bahay namin noon halos napagkakamalan po na bahay ng baboy. Pero dahil po sa tulong ng DOLE, nag-iba at gumaan ang buhay namin. Natutugunan na namin ang aming mga pangngailangan at nakakatulong pa kami sa iba," Melfo said.

One of many examples of how DOLE's livelihood program has improved the lives of the workers the department is supposed to support is Melfo's prosperous business. —iTacloban (Source: DOLE Region 8)
iTacloban

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