THE change of administration in Makati City (Metro Manila) last year cost the jobs of some employees affiliated with former Mayor Romulo Peña Jr., including dozens of persons with disabilities (PWDs) hired as administrative aides.
Lalaine Guanzon, 47, was among those struggling to find a living amid political uncertainty in the city while suffering from rheumatoid arthritis—a long-lasting autoimmune disease that primarily affects joints and limits the movements of a person.
From her home in Barangay Comembo, the single mother of two would roll her wheelchair from place to place and make her own worth.
“So since June 2016, I had no work. I still have two sons so I have to stay strong for them,” Guanzon said.
She was one of 100 PWDs from Metro Manila who was targeted by the Maybank Foundation when it launched last week the RISE entrepreneurship-mentorship program in the Philippines.
RISE, an abbreviation for Reach Independence and Sustainable Entrepreneurship, has already been successfully running in Malaysia and Indonesia in helping mainly PWDs and marginalized persons to help them increase their income without the need for business start-up grants.
Under the program, the participants will attend a three-day entrepreneurship and financial training session, followed by a six-month mentoring period.
According to Guanzon, attending the RISE training helped her develop entrepreneurial skills and achieve higher income.
“Sa ibang training, matutuhan mo gumawa ng tocino, pero ’yun na ’yun [In other trainings, you learn how to make cured pork, and that’s it]. “Pero ’yung mga financial strategy, paano mo mapapaganda product mo, paano mo siya mama-market, dito namin natutuhan [But here with RISE, we learn about financial strategies, product development, marketing],” she said.
The foundation is pouring in an initial P6 million for the program pilot in the Philippines.
Another 100 participants will be picked in Cebu by March.
“This year, Maybank will be marking its 20th year in the Philippines,” Maybank International CEO Pollie Sim said. “What an opportune time to celebrate this significant milestone than to roll out a successful program in the Philippines, a key market of the Maybank Group.”
“Hindi dapat maging hadlang ang disability para mawalan ng pag-asa para magtrabaho. Kung masipag ka, mabubuhay ka. Hindi sagabal ang kapansanan para sabihin mong wala kang makain [Disability is no hindrance to having a job. If you are industrious, you will survive. Disability is no obstacle to having food],” Guanzon said.
MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO