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Lotloton SLPA ventures in sari-sari store

Sa wala pa kami nag-abli sa among tindahan, giingnan nami sa mga tawo diri nga dili ra maabtan og tulo ka buwan among tindahan og mahagba ra kini (Before we opened our store, some people told us that our store would not even reach three months and would eventually close),” said Claudia Malanog, Lotloton Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA) President.

Lotloton SLP program participants proudly stand as owners of their Retailing and Merchandising Store.

Those are the harsh words hurled at the program participants of Lotloton SLPA while chasing to achieve their desired livelihood project, the sari-sari store.

Before the livelihood project was implemented in Brgy. Lotloton, Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor, most members used to do farming every day. Some worked as fishermen and laborers, and some members ventured into backyard gardening for them to sustain their family’s basic needs especially for their children who are attending school.

Admittedly, the farmers prayed for another source of income because farming alone is insufficient for their families’ needs.

In September 2016, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) introduced the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) to the community folks. The Provincial Coordinator Marilou Cortes and the Implementing Project Development Officer Arnel Casusi conducted the orientation about the program and helped them go through the process.

At the start of the implementation, some residents showed eagerness to be part of the livelihood program. They created a group of people with common interest and goal to establish the project and named it Lotloton Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA) Retailing and Merchandising Store.

Members’ active participation in the preparation of the group’s accreditation paid off. It only took them two (2) months to form the group with elected officers and by laws. The officers are Claudia Malanog, President; Antonio Aguinid, Vice President; Marcila Pagente, Secretary; Ruby Arapoc, Treasurer; and Luzviminda Domingues, Auditor. The association is composed of twenty-eight (28) members with twenty-three (23) females and five (5) males. Among the 28 members, only one (1) is non-Pantawid Pamilya grantee.

On November 28, 2016, the DSWD-SLP granted the amount of Php 325,791,000.00 for the SLPA’s livelihood project.

The members expressed their gratitude of having their own sari-sari store. “Sa una, wala mi lain giatubang kundi ang pagpama-ol lang. Karon, pinaagi sa tindahan nga gihatag sa DSWD SLP, aduna mi laing panginabuhian nga pwede namo saligan (Before, we only do farming. Now, because of the assistance given by DSWD-SLP to us, we have an additional source of income),” said Claudia.

Months after the members constructed the building to house their sari-sari store; attended some retailing business seminar conducted by the First Consolidated Bank-Larena branch; and processed the business permit and registration; the association opened the store on August 9, 2017. Some barangay and municipal officials including the Municipal Mayor Gerold Pal-ing witnessed this significant event.

The members take turns in rendering duty at the store. They are also monitored if they follow their policies like proper accounting of items and others. They also agreed not to allow credit yet as they are still starting the store operation.

Within eight months of their operation, the group was able to deposit Php 150,000.00 to their savings account. This means that their business is growing.

In June 2018, the members got their first profit sharing amounting to Php 5,000.00 each.

Kalipay nga walay ikabaylo ang among gibati tungod sa gihatag nga negosyo diri kanamo sa gobyerno pinaagi sa DSWD SLP. Kini among pagadumalaon og maayu (Priceless happiness is what we feel right now because of the livelihood given to us by the government through DSWD SLP. We will judiciously manage this business),” said Antonio. These words prove that criticisms could not hinder them in chasing their dreams when taken as a challenge by the group member to pursue their goal. ###

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