#DTIMalasakit Story from DTI-Region 5 (Camarines Norte)

In 1998, Mr. Roy Labor tried his fortune abroad. He started working as a machine maintenance staff in Taiwan. Just like other Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who have been adjusted to OFW life, he flew to Qatar for another job after two years. In 2004, he got married to Ms. Emilyn Mascariña, a government employee. When Mrs. Labor gave birth to Jireh in 2005, she stopped working for the government and became a housewife.

In 2006, Roy started working as a welding inspector for Sunchang, a Korean Company in Saudi Arabia. From then, Roy and Emilyn fought longingness and stood brave for the sake of their family’s future. Emilyn engaged into online business offering bags, bed sheets, housewares and food supplements to help her husband in their everyday expenses.

In 2016, Saudi Arabia faced financial crisis and economic recession that resulted to repatriation and displacement of OFWs. This crisis was one of the reasons why Roy went back home and planned to live with his family in the Philippines for good.

Life has been difficult for the couple. They used their earnings to suffice the needs of their family. Hence, Emilyn visited Negosyo Center (NC) at DTI-Camarines Norte Provincial Office and asked for its assistance. The couple has been invited to various Negosyo Center Training and Seminars, one of which is the Skills Training on Fruits and Veggie Chips Making on November 7, 2017 followed by Starting Your Own Business on November 11, 2017.

“. . . nakakatakot talaga sa una, pero kung pagsisikapan mong mapalaki ang negosyo, kailangan harapin ang mga challenges at magpatuloy. Prayers lang at saka tyaga!

-Ms. Emilyn M. Labor, Owner, Jireh Food Products

Decided to pursue a business, the couple ventured in Vegetable Chips production starting November 2017 with Malunggay, Tomatoes and Carrots Chips. Jireh Food Products (JFP) now offers additional variants of healthy vegetable chips (Squash and Amplaya) and veggie tarts. These veggie chips and tarts caught the interest of health-conscious buyers.

Negosyo Center assisted JFP to have its product labels thru a Product Development on Product Labelling and Packaging last March 14-15, 2018. Also, NC facilitated their Php 30,000.00 loan from MicroVentures Philippines Financing Company Inc. (One Puhunan) which was released last March 21, 2018 and another Php 100,000.00 loan from BPI-Banko released last September 13, 2018 . JFP participated in various DTI-initiated Trade Fairs such as NC Christmas Bazaar last December 2017, Bantayog Festival Agri-Tourism Trade Fair from April 17-29, 2018, Calaguas Summer Bazaar last April 28 – May 1, 2018, CamNorte’s Finest in Pacific Mall Lucena City last June 12-15,2018, Pinyasan Festival Trade Fair last June 16-24, 2018, Mecedes Food Expo last August 1-17, 2018 and Bishop Francisco Gainza TF last September 6-16,2018 with a total of Php 121,300.00 sales generated from the trade fairs. JFP also participated other Trade Fairs such as 14th Agri-Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition and Labo Agri-tourism TF last September 1-8, 2018 and the latest was the Agri and Food Link TF at the World Trade Center with a total of Php 176,475.00 sales generated.

Emilyn was also one of the Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) Batch 2 mentees who presented their Business Improvement Plans (BIP) last June 21, 2018, and who also graduated on the same day. The owner also participated in the recently conducted NC Benchmarking last October 22-23, 2018. Presently, JFP is being assisted in its webpage development through DTI-DICT partnership. This year, various trade fairs were participated by the JFP. Last May 22-26, 2019, JFP joined the OKB at Shangri-la and generated sales worth of Php 214, 850.00.

With DTI-Negosyo Center’s services and the owners’ perseverance, Jireh Food Products continuously widens its market and unceasingly innovating for the success of the business. Their products can be found in various school canteens, restaurants, All-Day Supermarket in Naga City, Caramel Bakeshop Commissary in Pili, Camarines Sur and all Caramel Bakeshop stalls in SM, Robinsons, as well as Pasalubong Centers in Bicol Region. Some of its patrons purchase their goods via online as well. The business’ average monthly sales now reach Php 585,000.00 and employs 15 workers now. Now, Roy has opted to stay in the Philippines for good to help his wife in running the business.♦

Published in Pilipino Mirror on 7 August 2019.