People who reside along the train station tracks are constantly at risk – their houses, their livelihood, and their lives. Everyday they make their way to their temporary jobs as sewers, carpenters, welders, or whatever opportunity comes along to make both ends meet.
Some are housewives, students, construction workers, or yayas coming from different provinces. Despite their individual struggles, life went on for the residents along Philippine National Railways’ Muntinlupa track. Until the day that they had to move out and resettle to give way to development plans and for their own safety.
Eleven years ago, in 2007, these residents were relocated to the National Housing Authority’s resettlement area in Southville 3, Barangay Poblacion, Muntinlupa City. Each family was given a unit, which in most cases was far better than what they used to have.
After their resettlement, some residents started small businesses, such as tricycle driving and selling goods. However, the residents missed their old lives – their friends and their livelihood. Their new community at that time just did not feel like home. Further, income opportunities and access to transportation to get to their place of work were still limited. These circumstances led some resettled families to decide on whether to sell or rent out their units for additional income and go back to where they used to live.
To address this problem and to augment the financial needs of the residents, the NHA livelihood program head approached the Department of Science and Technology – National Capital Region in 2012 to seek assistance to enhance their livelihood programs for the relocatees.
Under the Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology program of the DOST-NCR, a series of trainings on technology, livelihood, and entrepreneurship were conducted. Those who completed the training series were organized to form a homeowner’s association to facilitate the implementation and formalization of the livelihood activities.
This group eventually became the Southville Home-Based Producer Association Inc., a producers’ group duly registered with the SEC in 2013.
Forty-five members of the SHBPAI initially produced personal and home care products such as shampoo, lotion, detergent, candles, and dishwashing liquid, as well as food products like polvoron, peanut butter, and calamansi juice.
Fabric and water lily-based products were also part of their product lines. The 2012 survey of DOST-NCR and NHA showed that most of the residents were capable of doing carpentry, welding, and sewing as most of the women worked in a garments company before moving to Southville. Upon learning this, the two agencies teamed up with the LGU of Muntinlupa to acquire additional sewing machines for the common service facilities which expanded the membership of the SHBPAI to include the sewer’s subgroup.
In 2016, the SHBPAI sewers subgroup started their contract with Sunriva Merchandising Trading Corp. as a sub-contractor. Their partnership started when DOST-NCR presented its umbrella programs, the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program and Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries Muntinlupa Chapter (PCCI-Muntinlupa) where Sunriva Merchandising Trading Corp. is a member.
Today, the SHBPAI sewers subgroup are also distributing their products to Samsung Philippines, Gentix Enterprise, Rotary Club of Paranaque Central and other semiconductor companies.
Before their partnership with Sunriva, the group was only composed of 15 occasional seamstresses, producing only a few numbers of rugs with a very limited market. Today, SHBPAI has 65 seamstresses coming in regularly to the common service facilities to produce bags which are being sold in one of the biggest department stores in Metro Manila. They also produce bed sheets, linen, pouches, and rugs.
Apart from sewing and producing home and body care products, there were also trainings in welding and other technical courses conducted in partnership with Muntinlupa City Technical Institute. The MCTI was also provided with welding machines to expand the technical courses offered by MCTI. The number of MCTI welding graduates greatly increased by 2018. MCTI’s welding program has so far graduated 340 trainees, 191 of whom have been employed locally and abroad.
The residents saw gradual stability in their income because of the continuous support of government agencies like DOST-NCR and their LGU. They thought that this is, perhaps, the better life that they were waiting for. The area has also been developed to become a more livable place for the homeowners – with a school built for the residents’ children and the community accessible to public transportation.
Aurea Piedra, one of the members of SHBPAI, thanked the DOST for the livelihood project.
The residents of the community are now more motivated to acquire extra income to support their families without having to leave their homes.
Members of the association are also able to settle their monthly amortization because of the regular income that they receive from the enterprises established.
Because of the joint interventions of DOST-NCR, NHA, and the LGU of Muntinlupa City, and the expanded partnership with the private sector, more families benefited from the profits derived from the organization.
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