ISABELA CITY, BASILAN- In line with the 2023 National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week Celebration , a PWD Summit was held in Barangay Menzi, Isabela City, Basilan. The event marked the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) Turnover of Baking Livelihood Kits to 15 highly skilled Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), an initiative aimed at promoting inclusivity and empowerment.

The DOLE Isabela City Field Office in collaboration with LGU Isabela City through its City Persons with Disabilities Office, Isabela City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), TESDA, PhilHealth, City Health Office, AFP and other partner agencies and stakeholders, kicked-off the Persons with Disability Summit 2023 on July 26, 2023 at Barangay Covered Court, Brgy. Menzi, Isabela City, Basilan. The event seeks to create awareness about the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. By fostering education and understanding, the society can break down barriers and stereotypes, fostering an inclusive and accommodating community for all.

The main objective of the activity was to recognize the resilience, determination, and achievements of these remarkable individuals. Additionally, it aimed to provide essential livelihood tools and equipment to the identified PWD beneficiaries, to enable them to thrive in the Baking and Pastry industry and uplift their economic status.

Through this initiative, each of the identified skilled PWDs received a total of Php 30,000.00 worth of livelihood assistance in baking to include the tools, equipment, raw materials, and coverage to one (1) year GSIS Personal Accident Insurance (GPAI), to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey in the baking industry.

The ceremony was graced by Hon. Sitti Djalia A. Turabin-Hataman, the Mayor of LGU Isabela City. Mayor Hataman expressed her profound gratitude to the partners of LGU, including DOLE 9, TESDA, CHO, PhilHealth, and AFP. She envisioned a one-stop-shop for PWDs per barangay where they can display their products or produce to their community, emphasizing the importance of strengthening the capabilities and knowledge of the PWDs.

The beneficiaries expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the support they received. Dadah Edday, one of the beneficiaries, shared her aspirations, saying, “I am inspired because I have a child who is only 4 years old, and I want him to finish his studies someday. I am very grateful for TESDA BARMM, DOLE, and most especially Ma’am Gemma for helping us in acquiring the livelihood kit.”

Ms. Marlyn M. Anoos, Chief Labor and Employment Officer and Head of DOLE-Isabela City Field Office (DOLE-ICFO) highlighted the significance of the Livelihood Project of DOLE and envisioning the prosperity of PWDs in Isabela City’s thriving business community and someday be recognized in the national level as one of the best livelihood projects.

The DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) Turnover of Baking Livelihood Kits was a resounding success, and the impact of this initiative will undoubtedly contribute to the economic growth and development of these skilled PWDs and their families. As the community stands united in support, they prove that together, they can achieve great heights of inclusivity and empowerment. END//with reports from Alvin Ocliaso, LEO III and Criselle Ann M. Puno, TC, DOLE-ICFO.