Press Releases

Bread for Brothers. Mr. Lim Basman, trained baker, accommodating a customer at the CMAI Bakery in Looc, Calamba City, Laguna.

A story of hope was made possible by DOLE CALABARZON Regional Director Henry John S. Jalbuena upon approval and release of two livelihood grants for Muslim communities in Laguna proving that no one gets left behind in the continued promotion of inclusive economic growth.

Displaced by atrocities in Southern Philippines, many Muslims took a leap of faith thriving in cities across Luzon. They can be easily recognized by their hijab, the head covering for women, and the Taqiyah, the round cap for men, as they mingle in huge crowd selling goods. More often than not, they come in groups whether at work or worship in keeping with their culture’s sense of community.

It all started last year when Laguna Provincial Director Guido R. Recio learned about the Calamba Muslim Association, Inc. (CMAI) with the organization enthusiastic about its livelihood proposal. A member of the association and a trained baker, Mr. Lim Basman, dreams of putting up a bakery not only to utilize his skills but also to share the same with his Muslim brothers. With the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program, this dream became a reality with the livelihood assistance worth Php596,627.00 covering raw materials and equipment.

Now in full business operation, the CMAI Bakery caters to their immediate Muslim community providing Halal bread and pastry products. It also intends to expand its market to nearby barangays such as Barangay III and Parian other than Brgy. Looc in Calamba City where the bakeshop is currently located. After all, it wouldn’t hurt the business to introduce the product to consumers outside the local Islamic circle.

Check it Out. UNMB Members inspecting sewing machines and materials for the first time at the garment workshop. 

This was replicated by Norol Masjid Tibag and Islamic Cultural Center Association, Inc. with the establishment of the NMTAICCA Bakery. With more than 80 members, the group was able to secure Php742, 802.00 for its project operating in Brgy. II, Calamba City, Laguna. The market seeks to capture five other neighboring areas including Mercado de Calamba, Liana’s Muslim Community, Muslim Compound Lazaro Subdivision, Brgy. Uno and Brgy. Lawa.

Apparently, NMTAICCA was not merely following into the footsteps of its predecessor, CMAI since it has taken higher risks with bigger membership which goes along with bigger capitalization. While this would mean a bigger pot of livelihood, this would also require bigger responsibility for the group to ensure that every peso would earn a decent return. It will be up to the association to seal its fate in the coming years whether “bigger” translates to better.

There are many other available livelihood ventures out there that another Muslim group opted to delve into garment-making for their proposal. Another DOLE beneficiary, the United Muslim Brothers Association tapped financial assistance from DOLE in form of sewing machines to engage in a garment business. The group was able to secure Php589,770.00 to furnish its workshop and get on with the business.

Skilled UNMB members who are good at sewing will pioneer the making of “Malong,” the traditional tube skirt in Brgy. III, Calamba City, Laguna. Given the growing number of Muslims in Calamba, the shop will not likely run out of customers as long as the working members keep the item worth the price for its quality. Besides, the association has the advantage for being the first and only manufacturer of Malong in the community.

What is interesting about these three group projects is the support extended by their corresponding barangays. Some of them were even assisted to raise the necessary counterpart fund that will complete the total project cost. Working hand in hand with the Local Government Units, these Muslim communities get to have a fair chance to stay and thrive in this city.

It has been the intention of RD JALBUENA to facilitate effective integration of displaced Muslims in the society by way of livelihood grants. Muslims, like all other Filipinos, are entitled to all government programs and services for income opportunities. As the proverb goes, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”


DOLE Laguna LCO/Senior LEO

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