RPC Agnes Tambalo, CDEDO Maynard Cezar, PC Efren Rafanan (in yellow polos) together with the municipal officials of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur and the 100 program beneficiaries as they proudly wear the black and white t-shirts they personally sew.

Manipod nangrugi daytoy a training agingga itatta, nakitak iti panagbaliw iti kasasaad ko. Day care nak man idi ta awan ti ammok maipanggep iti panagdait, itatta ket kasla grade 6 nakon. (From the start of this training up until now, I have seen change in my status. Before, I consider myself a day care child because I knew nothing about dressmaking, but now it seems like I’m already at Grade 6),” said Flordelina Jimeno, 42, during the Skills Training on Dressmaking graduation at Brgy. Dardarat of Sinait town, Ilocos Sur on 01 August 2017. Flordelina was among the 100 beneficiaries from the four batches who underwent skills training under DSWD through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), in partnership with Amethyst Career Advancement Institute, Inc. The Local Government of Tagudin provided the training venue for the participants.

Gapo pay daytoy a training, no kasano kaado dagiti gagayyem ko idi, ad-ado man tattan. Dayta iti maysa nakitak a pagsayaatan na daytoy a training ta na-socialize nak. (Because of this training, I became sociable and gained more friends),” Flordelina added as she thanks her co-beneficiaries for always extending their hands to any help she needed.

The beneficiaries who organized themselves into Raniag Tagudin Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA) were able to learn the basics of t-shirt making during the 20-session skills training. In fact, the shirts they wear during the graduation are evident product of their successful training. They also make pot holders, placemats, and rugs which they sell at a very reasonable price. The association received 16 edging machines,16 high-speed sewing machines, 4 piping machines, plus complete set of sewing materials and garments from SLP fund of DSWD, that served as their starter kit for their new source of livelihood income. “Adda aminen a suporta a makitak. Adda laengen kadakayo iti panagballaygi na daytoy. Alwadanyo dagiti makina a naited kadakayo. Agiinnawat kayo no adda problema along the way. Pangaasiyo ta daytoy a biyaya ket pangalagaanyo, ayatenyo, ken iranod tayo dagiti padatayo a tattao. (All the support needed are here. The success of this livelihood program lies within you. Understand each other when problems arise along the way. Please take good care and love this blessing, and may this benefit other people),” said Mayor Roque Verzosa Jr. As a way to support the dressmakers, he added, “Aminen a t-shirt ket ditoyen iti pakaaramidanna. Dagidiay t-shirt ti eskuelaan iti interamente nga ili ti Tagudin ket makisaritan to ni Vice Mayor kadagitoy nga eskuelaan nga agpaaramid. (From now on, all t-shirts will be made here; Tagudin Vice Mayor Bernardo Tovera, Jr. will talk to all school administrators in the town requesting them to have their shirts made by Raniag Tagudin SLPA).”

Driven by optimism and trust for the dressmakers, Mayor Roque even foresee that with their determination, and the support of DSWD and other government and non-government agencies, the first t-shirt factory in town will soon rise. Agnes Tambalo, Regional Program Coordinator, on the other hand, challenged the dressmakers, “Napintas daytoy a programa ta ado iti tumulong kanyayo (beneficiaries), ngem no saantayo a tulungan dagiti bagbagitayo baka awan iti pagmaayan na daydiay a tulong. (This is a good program because many are helping you, but if we do not help ourselves, all these support will be in vain.”

Fernando Lobendino, 45, was among the 3 males in the association who completed and graduated in the said training. He said that gender should never be an issue in any workplace. “Awan pilpliyenna, lalaki man nga agdadait wenno babbai. Basta adda pagtrabahuan a nasiaat. (There is no discrimination, regardless whether a dressmaker is a man or a woman. What matters is we have a decent job),” he said.

One of the Sustainable Livelihood Program’s guiding principles is anchored on gender-sensitivity and gender-responsiveness. The unequal power relations among classes, genders, and across ages prevents equitable development and women’s full participation in social endeavors. The goal is to make equitable, sustainable and participatory development of women and men as decision-makers and planners, which emphasizes the balance and fairness of opportunities for both males and females. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)