When the wave of global economic slump hit home, some 21,867 workers at the Laguna Export Processing Zone south of Metro Manila bit the dust just like many overseas counterparts. But starting in May, the Laguna ecozone’s displaced workers can start anew as entrepreneurs.

This development came out following an innovative multi-agency livelihood training program for retrenched workers. 
A joint initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, its line agency Technology Resource Center, and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, the program introduces technologies and mechanisms in starting a business. It will also provide business kits with basic tools to guide displaced workers to start doing business immediately.

During a “Magnegosyo Forum” held May 4 at the Biñan Training Center in Malamig, Biñan, Laguna, DOST Undersecretary Fortunato dela Peña encouraged about 200 displaced workers mostly in their early 20s to avail of the livelihood training program.

The forum included briefing on meat processing, herbal soap making, and microfinancing. Successful entrepreneurs who previously attended DOST-TRC also shared their stories.

DOST-TRC’s Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana said that training starts May 7-8 at the Light Industry and Science Park I. The training package includes lectures, demonstrations, hands-on sessions, entrepreneurship sessions, and field trips. The business kit, meanwhile, consists of tools and basic materials to start a business.

The program is a brainchild of Engr. Francis Ferrer, past president and chairman of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc. It received P7.9M fund from DOST, P1.1 M from PEZA, and P.49 M from TRC.

It will run for six months under the Filipinnovation Network composed of government and private organizations that aim to harmonize and strengthen the country’s competitiveness through the development of human capital, industry, and public policy.
PEZA Director General Lilia de Lima said the displaced workers now have opportunity “not only to have a job but to create jobs.” 
Biñan Mayor Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat expressed gratitude to DOST and its program partners for bringing development “rescue packages” to Biñan.

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