Press Releases
SPES contributes healthy living in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro
With this COVID-19 pandemic, people have appreciated the importance of producing food at home by planting and propagating vegetables and other crops to ensure and maintain a healthy living of the family.
For this year under the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES), forty beneficiaries employed by the local government unit (LGU) of Sablayan from 13 August to 11 September 2020 have started enjoying the harvests from their backyard garden after planting vegetables and other crops which include green beans (sitaw), pechay, okra, eggplants, and patola.
Following the community quarantine guidelines, instead of working at the convenience of the air-conditioned government offices, they were busy at their respective homes by cultivating and tilling the soil of their backyard gardens. Their activities were monitored by the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) until harvest time.
For twenty days of safe working engagement, aside from benefiting the harvested vegetables, each youth beneficiary will receive a salary of P9,055.40 where 60% of which will be paid by LGU Sablayan while the remaining 40% will be the counterpart of DOLE.
For LGU Sablayan with the support of the department, this shared effort was successful by setting an example to other LGUs to embrace back the backyard farming.
Consistent with its mandate as DOLE’s extended arm in LGU Sablayan, PESO Manager Grace Z. Fille said, “Ang COVID-19 ay hindi nakapigil sa Public Employment Service Office na makapagbigay ng tuloy-tuloy na programa at serbisyo sa ating mga kababayan, sa halip naging tulay ito upang mas lalo pa naming paigtingin ang aming serbisyo sa gitna ng pandemiya lalo na sa ating mga kabataan.” (The COVID-19 cannot prevent the Public Employment Service Office from providing continuous programs and services to our countrymen, instead it became a bridge for us to further intensify our service in the midst of pandemic especially to our youth) 
Moreover, LGU Sablayan Mayor Andres D. Dangeros said, “Given the many benefits of productive gardening, this interest in increased self-sufficiency was an intelligent response to the pandemic situation. Just because you are staying at home during these trying times does not mean that your physical activities need to stop. Instead, make it an opportunity to make yourself productive in a healthier and safer ways.”
Meanwhile, SPES beneficiaries were challenged to grow quality vegetables as they could sell their produce at the costs ranging from P100.00 to P250.00 in just one harvest only; thus, bringing additional income for them.
“Dahil sa SPES, natutunan ko po at na-appreciate pa lalo ang kahalagahan ng pagtatanim ng mga gulay lalo na ngayong may COVID-19, malaking tulong po ito sa akin hindi lang sa aking pag-aaral kundi dagdag kita narin para sa aking pamilya lalo na po ngayong pandemiya na mas kailangan namin ng dagdag pagkakakitaan. Maraming salamat po sa DOLE, sa PESO at sa LGU Sablayan.” Ricky Falikde said, an IP beneficiary.  (Because of SPES, I have learned and appreciated even more the importance of planting vegetables especially during this pandemic, it has been a great help not only to support my studies but also as an additional income for my family. Thank you to DOLE, PESO and LGU Sablayan.)
Representing DOLE MIMAROPA OIC Regional Director Albert E. Gutib, Provincial Director Bernardo B. Toriano lauded the LGU’s undertaking, “From lost jobs, food shortages, financial crisis, and fear of the unknown, this COVID-19 has taken all the toll. Yet, it’s during the most trying times when we should come and work together to find ways to live and return to the basic simple life and find an opportunity to protect each other”, he said.
SPES is a youth employment-bridging program of the DOLE’s Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) which aims to provide temporary employment to poor but deserving students, out-of-school youth, and dependents of displaced or would-be displaced workers to augment the family’s income to help ensure that beneficiaries are able to pursue their education.
End/ Gener L. Francisco

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