ZAMBOANGA CITY – Valentines Day 2022 just became more significant to Nego-Kart beneficiaries of the Labor Office in Region 9 as they showcased popular street foods at the Araw ng mga Puso Nego-Kart Festival.

Customers flocked to the venue on Heart’s Day (February 14) from 3pm onwards at the DOLE 9 parking lot in Sta. Catalina, Zamboanga City.

The food festival was organized by the DOLE Zamboanga City Field Office (ZCFO) to give nego-kart vendors the opportunity to increase their income and to market food items such as tempura, kwek-kwek, hotdogs-on-sticks and fishball for free.

According to Regional Director Atty. Roy L. Buenafe, the nego-karts were part of DOLE’s Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) which aims to assist the ambulant vendors in making their existing livelihood undertakings grow into profitable and sustainable business.

“This will make their income level at par with that of the minimum wage earners, at the least,” RD Buenafe added.

Assistant RD Imelda F. Gatinao thanked the vendors who participated in the food festival and inspired them to continue improving and expanding their menu to cater to more customers.

“We might begin conducting nego-kart festivals annually on a grander scale to motivate and inspire our beneficiaries to sustain their businesses,” ARD Gatinao added.

Jenelyn S. Tacut, parent of a former child laborer from Brgy. Tumaga was happy over her earnings from a day’s work.

“First time ko po makasali sa ganitong festival kaya po masaya ako na inimbitahan ako ng DOLE. Kahit mahigit sa 3 oras lang po ako nagbenta dito, malaki po ang kinita ko. Maraming salamat DOLE, sana po ay magkaroon pa ulit ng ganito sa susunod.”

Susan Cordova of Pasobolong’s Women Association sold pinoy delicacies such as polvoron and banana chips. The association was awarded with livelihood assistance in 2021 to fund their delicacy production project.

Vendors accumulated a total of PHP 7,640.00 sales for the day.

Cafe Dash, the first mobile coffee station in the city, also made an appearance during the affair – serving affordable drinks to customers. END/Karen Grafia with reports from DOLE-ZCFO