Saturday, May 14, 2016

Ilocano Ex-OFW receives livelihood assistance thru Manang Imee’s Nego-Kart Express

ILOCOS Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos together with Mr. Matthew Marcos-Manotoc and Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Angelo M. Barba leads the distribution of the Manang Imee's Nego-Kart Express in Marcos, Ilocos Norte. (Alaric A. Yanos)

By John Michael Mugas
PGIN-CMO

After receiving Manang Imee’s Nego-Kart Express, a former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Orlanda Pascual of Carasi, Ilocos Norte saw the opportunity to expand her business ensuring that her decision to stay in the province will still improve the living conditions of her family.

Ms. Pascual is one of the recipients of the Manang Imee’s Nego-Kart Express, a program that hands out proper vending cart, livelihood tools, starting capital and training for ambulant vendors aiming to help them increase and sustain their income level in the long-run.

Through the Provincial Public Employment Service Office, the program started rolling out this year with the orientation of the first 50 beneficiaries, most of them women, last January.

Ms. Pascual, who was an OFW in the Middle East, endured more than 7 years of separation from her family as she braved the challenges and loneliness of working in a foreign country in search for greener pasture.

“Being an OFW greatly helped me and my family especially that my three children were able to finish their studies up to college,” she recounted.

Ms. Pascual noted, however, that an OFW like her should be patient and resilient citing how these traits are inherent to every Ilocano.

“While it is true that working as an OFW makes you earn more compared to what you get in the country, it is as if you go back to zero once you return to the country,” she added.

Ilocos Norte continues to share the highest number of Overseas Filipinos in Region 1 at 51,396 in 2013 while estimated remittances from Ilocanos abroad reached PHP 5,386,000,000 in 2009, according to Commission of Filipinos Overseas.

From 1900s to 2009, Ilocanos were compelled to leave the province to seek better opportunities due to job scarcity in Ilocos Norte.

At the beginning of Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos’ administration in 2010, she focused in bringing in more employment opportunities for Ilocanos creating over 50,000 jobs compared to the 20,000 target set in 2012.

Admitting that she somehow refused to come home fearing that there would be no jobs available for her in the country, Ms. Pascual decided to invest her savings by building a small bakery in their town.

But not long enough, the bakery failed to thrive resulting to its unexpected closure. She followed it up by putting up a piggery but she faced a lack of financial capital.

Drawing inspiration from her family, she did not lose hope and persistently engaged in a new undertaking by selling snacks around their town.

“This time around, I sell quail eggs and banana cue among others and I deliver my products on-foot in the municipal hall and schools in the town,” she recounted, adding that it is such a strenuous physical labor but proved to be profitable.

With this, she took the opportunity to avail the program and was enlisted to be a recipient of the first 50 Nego-Karts which she received last March 10 during the Manang Imee’s Capitol Express at Brgy. Loing, Piddig, Ilocos Norte.

Today, Ms. Pascual continues selling with the support of the vending cart which enables her to be efficiently transported from one location to another which results to an increase of income. She was also able to sell more products with the additional capital she received through the program.

“We are lucky to have Governor Marcos who continuously leads the province with utmost concern to Ilocanos especially for OFWs like me; she had given us the choice to adequately improve the living condition of our families while staying in the province,” Pascual beamed in Ilocano.

Beneficiaries of the Manang Imee's Nego-Kart Express receive the starting capital to run their small and medium businesses from Governor Imee R. Marcos. (Alaric A. Yanos)

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