Metro Manila, Philippines—Months after embarking on a journey of steadily offering affordable goods through Kadiwa stores, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., together with several government agencies, is back at it again with the same goal but with a wider target audience, this time for the Filipino workers.
On March 8, 2023, DOLE Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma joined President Marcos Jr. to launch the “Kadiwa ng Pangulo para sa mga Manggagawa” project at the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) Compound in Quezon City.
The activity is a convergence program spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) with President Marcos Jr. as Acting Secretary in partnership with DOLE and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as support groups.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said in his message that the administration is now focusing on helping the labor force, first by gearing the Kadiwa stores towards the laborers. He reiterated that the said sector is one of the biggest driving forces in our economy; hence, it should be taken care of.
President Marcos Jr. added that the continuation of Kadiwa is a result of the nonstop increase in prices of basic commodities on top of Secretary Laguesma’s initiative.
“… binulungan ako ni Secretary Laguesma [sa meeting]. Sabi niya, dahil inaasahan natin at marami tayong pinapagawa [sa mga manggagawa], gumawa naman tayo ng Kadiwa para sa kanila,” he said.
He also added that there are about 500 Kadiwa outlets across the country, but they are still identifying more areas for additional sites so that more Filipinos can enjoy farm-to-consumer market chains.
Aside from organizing the event, DOLE also provided Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) opportunities to around 45 individuals who cleared and prepared the compound and assisted the 33 participating sellers and other individuals.
Previously profiled TUPAD workers went to the event to assist in setting up the stalls. They, later on, helped the sellers in selling and packing up their things.
Officials and staff from the TUCP headed by Representative Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza offered their compound and facilities at Elliptical Road in Quezon City to ensure ample space for the Kadiwa vendors, as well as access to different buyers within their area.
The Quezon City Government also supported the event, together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Food Authority (NFA), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Secretary Laguesma was joined during the launching of the expanded Kadiwa service by DOLE Undersecretaries Atty. Benjo Santos M. Benavidez and Atty. Felipe N. Egargo Jr. in coordination with DOLE-NCR through its Regional Director, Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol and DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment (DILEEP) Unit Head Aurora E. Halcon.
Also present during the event were DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual; DA Assistant Secretary Kristine Y. Evangelista; DOLE Undersecretary Carmela I. Torres; DOLE Assistant Secretary, Atty. Lennard Constantine C. Serrano; DOLE Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) Director Ahmma Charisma Lobrin-Satumba; DOLE-NCR Mediator-Arbiter, Atty. Gerard Peter C. Mariano; DOLE-NCR Employment Promotion & Workers’ Welfare Officer-in-Charge Maria Luisa Khristina C. Oliveros; and DOLE-NCR Senior Labor and Employment Officer Carmelita B. Jimena. END / Report and photos by Esteban D. Chua Jr.