in photo: DTI Laguna, PPG Beneficiries with RD Marilou Toledo in signing of Pledge of Commitment and Awaring of PPG Livelihood kits

It was January 2020 –  weeks passed the New Year, when the Taal Volcano had exhibited phreatic eruption. The rage of the volcano left houses, businesses, and establishments damaged. Large number of families and individuals were affected throughout the province of Batangas and nearby parts of CALABARZON. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) had back then advised a total evacuation within the 17-kilometer radius around the volcano.

Within that 17-km. radius is the home and hope of Juanito “Jojo” Andal, owner of Green Thumb Agricultural Farm in Brgy. Casile, Cabuyao City, Laguna.

Jojo recalled the volcanic incident which covered his entire green farm with grey and disruptive ashes. “Iyong mga inaasahan namin na aanihin, lahat ‘yun di na napakinabangan,” Jojo said pertaining to the leafy vegetables, strawberries and dragon-fruit plants completely devastated.

Also, with the loss of production and re-alignment of funds for recovery, fellow farmers who work on his farm also loss their sources of income. “Nakakawalang pag-asa”, Jojo added.

in photo: Juanito “Jojo” Andal,, as one of the beneficiary of Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa Program

Jojo was still in anguish when the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Laguna Provincial Office then visited his farm to check on areas affected by the ashfall and he was surprised to be introduced to the DTI Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (DTI-PPG) program.

DTI-PPG is an entrepreneurial program which aims to provide livelihood assistance to families, individuals especially micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) affected by natural and man-made calamities.

On September 2020, Jojo was awarded with DTI-PPG Agricultural Farm Livelihood Package worth not less than five thousand pesos. The livelihood kit includes farm tools such as knapsack sprayer, digging bar and hand shovels.

“Mahalaga para sa mga farmers ang tools, lalo noon na nagsisimula ulit kaming magtanim (Farms tools are essential to us, farmers, especially that time that we needed to replant again)”, Jojo said when asked how did PPG help in his business.  

“Pero higit sa mga tools,e, ay yung alam mo na lagi naka-suporta si DTI sa amin. Malaking bagay na iyon (But more than the tools is the thought that DTI is always there to support us. It’s already a big help”, he added.

After a year, Jojo’s farm has no traces of damage from previous year’s ashfall. Following also the advise captured conducted through DTI Business Consultancy service early 2021, the Green Thumb Agricultural Farm isn’t only a farm where one grow plants but also a recreational haven for walk-in, joggers, and bikers looking for a place to pause for a while, relax and unwind. ♦

Date of Release: 13 January 2022