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Street food vendor in Southern Leyte thrives through DOLE’s livelihood program

September 19, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through its DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) has steadfastly provided livelihood to the needy and deserving informal workers throughout the years.

Street food vendor in Southern LeyteAmong the many beneficiaries of the program is 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.

In February 2021, Melfo received from DOLE Regional Office No. 8 through the Southern Leyte Field Office (SLFO) a livelihood starter kit for her street food business worth P12,310.00.

Armed with gratitude and determination, Melfo strived to manage her business well and eventually gained success. The assistance from DOLE paved the way for the living condition of her family to improve, earning a net income of P2,500.00 per day.

From the income she earned from one vending cart situated at the Sogod Terminal, Melfo was able to buy another food cart which she placed beside a department store in Sogod.

As life isn’t always perfect, Melfo and her family encountered so many challenges along the way. Her husband was hospitalized due to COVID, and their house sustained heavy damages because of the typhoon Odette that struck the province of Southern Leyte last December 2021. These exhausted her savings but Melfo did not lose sight of her goal and managed to rise above the problems.

Presently, Melfo opened her third street food branch fronting another department store in Sogod, this time, not only a food cart but a snack house where customers can dine-in and enjoy their favorite street food.

From fishball and kikiam, Melfo now offers a variety of snacks such as potato fries, kwek-kwek, siomai and some refreshments. Her small-scale business is now a sought-after street food in their place.

Looking back on how she started, Melfo couldn’t help but shed tears of joy.

“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 pangangailangan at nakakatulong pa kami sa iba”, Melfo said.

Melfo’s successful livelihood project is just one of the many testimonies that DOLE’s livelihood program is indeed instrumental in improving the lives of the workers that the department ought to serve. (with a report from DOLE-SLFO)