‘New hopes for new pace’- says DavOr local entrepreneur

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Marilou C. Gulles, Treasurer of Tomoaong United Lumad Association for Development (TULAD)-a local enterprise in Davao Region under the Programme for Local Economic Development through Enlightened Governance and Grassroots Empowerment (PLEDGE) of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) expressed her gratitude to the agency and the program as she has ‘new hopes for new pace’ for their enterprise.

She was a bit emotional during an interview at the El Bajada Hotel, Davao City on September 28-30, 2016 during the Product Development Training and Local Study Tour on Enterprises held on September 28-30, 2016 at same hotel, as the PLEDGE program of the BDA will conclude this month.

“Before the PLEDGE came in our barangay, everything was routinely. I have my two kids to attend to and been serving our barangay health center as a Barangay Health Worker for six years now”, Gulles recalls.

During those times, she remembered that she has even doubts when the staff of BDA-PLEDGE came to campaign and orient about the program. “Bakit sila magbigay ng tulong (Why they would help us), considering na Christian kami (we are Christian)”, she evoked; until she realized how sincere the program has brought her community.

She also said that what she loved about PLEDGE is that “hindi ka nila tatantanan until hindi ka matuto. And even natuto ka na, they are still around to guide us (They would not stop until they see us grow and learn. And even we have learned, they are still there to guide us)”, she added.

“PLEDGE treated us more than just a PO, more than just an enterprise. They treated us more like a family. Kinakamusta kami palagi (They always asked how we are doing)”, Ms. Gulles shared.

As a mother, PLEDGE changed me a lot. PLEDGE changed my community, my barangay a lot. And I realize that being a mother does not just being at home and take care of my family. It is through being involved in this program that showed me that I can do all at the same time: taking care of them, earning a living and making a change for my community. And I have done it through PLEDGE.

She also added that even the PLEDGE program will conclude, she felt that all the knowledge and skills enhancement that were given to them were enough for them to sustain what they have started especially that they were engaged in local enterprises.

“Malaki talaga ang pasasalamat ko sa kanilang (PLEDGE) pagtatiyaga sa amin para kami matuto. At sana, marami pa silang matulungan na katulad naming. Sana rin sa mga kasamahan ko, mapanatili naming ang kanilang tiwala at dapat palaging magkaroon ng koordinasyon at patuloy na makilahok upang ma motivate at ma encourage ang iba pa (I am very grateful to them for being patient. I hope that there will be a lot more that they can help. I also hope that we will maintain the trust that they have given us and we will continuously coordinate each other and continue to get involved in motivating and encouraging others)”, she stressed.

PLEDGE is the economic and livelihood component of Mindanao Trust Fund Reconstruction and Development Program (MTFRD)  implemented by the BDA in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) as trust fund recipient that aims to contribute to confidence and peace building efforts through local economic development and sustainable livelihood creation in conflict affected areas in Mindanao.

It also aimed to help reduce poverty, promote inclusive growth, support confidence building and lasting peace in Mindanao through practical approaches on local economic development through enlightened governance and grassroots empowerment.

The program is supported by the MTF with various donors such as such as the European Union, the Swedish International Development Agency, the Australian Embassy Philippines, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada, the United States Agency for International Development, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the World Bank which also serves as trust fund secretariat.

(BDA Communication Group-Davao Region)