Soon, a new kind of selling and business cart will dot the thoroughfares and markets of the Philippine countryside.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) projects that before the year 2009 culminates, around 1,000 "Nego-Karts" – which are intended to provide decent livelihood mainly for the benefit of marginal workers in the country's informal sector (IS)- would have been set up nationwide.
Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque has thus designated a special projects team, headed by Labor Undersecretary Arturo L. Sodusta, Jr., to take charge of the thrust in cooperation with Local Government Units (LGUs) nationwide.
He said that the inputs from appropriate industries and the private sector would be tapped for the DOLE decent work thrust, adding that the project will be implemented jointly by several DOLE agencies as well as the DOLE's network of 16 DOLE Regional Offices around the country.
Labor Undersecretary Sodusta said that the "Nego-Kart" or Negosyo sa Kariton assist disadvantaged, ambulant vendors in major cities in making their existing livelihood productively grow into profitable and sustainable businesses.
Sodusta said that indeed, "through the project, we intend that the income level of the ambulant vendors would at least be at par with that of minimum wage earners."
Sodusta said that basically, the DOLE's Nego-Kart project will provide ambulant vendors with services that would enable them to increase, upgrade and diversify their products and services, and market the same to more buyers or customers.
Such services, he said, cover the acquisition of a vending cart and accessory livelihood tools; provision of working capital for procurement or production of marketable goods or services; provision of trainings on production skills, entrepreneurship and business management; and, assistance in securing business permit to operate in designated area.
Specifically, each vendor-beneficiary will be provided total of P15,000 in assistance including a "Nego-Kart" vending cart and accessory livelihood tools costing P12,000, along with working capital amounting to P2,500, and training assistance worth P500.
Significantly, the project would provide a decent work alternative for the benefit of the disadvantaged IS workers, and with the DOLE logo on the Nego-Karts affording a stamp of legitimacy, enable ambulant vendors to operate under a permit without being chased/penalized by authority. Altogether, the Nego-Kart forms a part of the Special Projects being pursued by the DOLE, including "Kabataan Ito" which will engage 10,000 youth mentors in all cities and provinces to provide IS workers with online access to government programs/services.