Ailyn Encarnacion Limbaro, from Barangay Goodyear, Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay aspired to become a teacher. In her young age, she would gather all her siblings to participate as she plays the role of a teacher. She would review lessons with them and help them with their homework.
However, she soon realized that becoming a teacher might not be possible for her and chances of getting a college education was nil because of their situation.
Her father works as a rubber “kapatas” at Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (GARBEMCO) in Kabasalan town and earns only a meager income from the rubber plantation. His earnings were just enough for the family’s basic needs.
The financial hardship however did not dampen the spirit of this young dreamer and she refused to accept that there is no hope of fulfilling her dream. She went out of her way to find ways to support her college education.
Special Program for the Employment of Students
You can call it luck when in 2013, she heard that GARBEMCO is employing students for a summer job. She did not waste time and headed straight to the GARBEMCO office and inquired about it. She found out that it was a program offered by the Department of Labor and Employment called Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES).
“I heard that GARBEMCO was looking for students to be hired for summer job, so I went to the office and applied. I did not want to just stay home and do nothing during summer. I approached the secretary and asked for the requirements,” Ailyn happily recalled.
From there, she started working under the Miscellaneous Department. For 30 days work at 255 pesos per day, the salary Aileen got went straight to her school needs and the little extra she shared with the family. “The salary I earned helped me with my expenses in school.” Ailyn shared.
SPES is one of the banner programs of the Department of Labor and Employment mandating the employment of poor but deserving students to see them through college. It has been implemented by various institutions, both government and private so that the salary they earn will help augment their school expenses.
Among the successful implementers of the program in Zamboanga Sibugay Province is GARBEMCO. GARBEMCO is a rubber cooperative that employs more than 300 workers deployed in its various divisions but most of the workers are assigned in the rubber plantation as tappers and the like.
Prior to the creation of the PESO Office in the cooperative, GARBEMCO faced a tremendous hurdle as rubber prices plummeted to its lowest in the world market and affected the business including the workers, beneficiaries and their families. Creating the PESO Office was an idea that offered a solution to their dilemma.
Hard work and determination
PESO GARBEMCO started to implement the programs of DOLE benefiting workers and beneficiaries within the cooperative and one those programs was SPES. Within the walls of the cooperative were children of rubber plantation workers greatly affected by the crisis, and Ailyn was one of them. She showed her determination by doing her work well and after the summer job, she made sure that she continued to excel in her studies.
PESO GARBEMCO allocated a significant number of slots for continuing SPES beneficiaries most especially for those who have been doing well in school.
“I worked for 3 consecutive summers under the SPES program,” Ailyn related. The 3 summers that Aileen worked was her ticket in finishing her college degree. She took up Bachelor of Science in Education Major in Filipino at the Western Mindanao State University-External Unit Studies in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay and graduated last April 2016.
Up to this day, as Aileen would look back, no amount of words can express her gratitude to GARBEMCO and its PESO manager, Ms. Lilia Manuel, and to DOLE for the SPES program.
Ailyn is now 21, a professional teacher gainfully employed after passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers given last November 2016.
“It is my wish that GARBEMCO will continue implementing this SPES Program of DOLE because it will help many students like me to finish their studies and achieve their dreams,” Ailyn quoted. (ALT-PIA9/Zamboanga Sibugay/With reports from Corazon Penaranda, DOLE-ZSFO)