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Zambales governor, officials launch livelihood program to hike tax base

IBA, Zambales—Confronted with the problem of unemployment and low tax collection, the Zambales provincial government has partnered with private firms and non-governmentalorganizations in launching a mass-based livelihood program to turn ordinary residents in this province into entrepreneurs.

The program, which targets the creation of family business clusters, is designed to boost family income, broaden the local tax base, and in the process, revolutionize the local economy, said Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr.

“We need more revenue to be able to pursue the development programs that we have lined up for Zambales. But we do not want to tax the residents more than what they are paying now. So, our strategy is to create more taxpayers,” Ebdane said.

“By turning each Zambaleño into an entrepreneur, we intend to collect more taxes and hence, generate more funds to develop our community,” he added.

Ebdane, along with technical experts and representatives of partner-organizations, inaugurated the “Pangkabuhayang Panghabangbuhay” Program, or POGE Zambales, at the Zambales Sports Complex gymnasium here on Saturday, with about 5,000 would-be entrepreneurs signing up for the program. 

Jun Tupaz, head coordinator of the POGE project, said the program involves orienting the people and identifying viable business activities in the province; organizing residents to introduce them to the concept of entrepreneurship; providing training for skills development, transfer of technology, preparation of business plans, consultancy and guidance during the early periods of the business; and providing residents access to capital and introducing participants to ready markets.

POGE, he said, was a name chosen by project participants in a consultation meeting last month. It stands for “Program Of the people and by the people; Good governance for Excellent income.”

To carry out the program, Tupaz said Ebdane gathered experts from various fields to provide technical know-how for about 20 types of business ventures suitable for implementation in the province. The experts were from established national and international companies like Purefoods, Nestle, Seagate Global and MacKay Group.

Aside from these, technicians from government agencies like the Department of Agriculture, as well as freelance specialists, were also tapped to provide support in terms of logistics, marketing and other project requirements.

For financial services, access to capital, as well as fiscal advice, the program had turned to William Lawton, chairman of Seagate Global Group, an international merchant bank focused on sustainable community development through investments and trade in China and other areas in Southeast Asia.

Ebdane said after an initial study by POGE consultants, some 20 business activities have been identified for Zambales residents. These include Marshall grass farming, livestock and poultry, meat and dairy processing, organic aquaculture and modern fishing methods, castor oil farming and processing, fruit and vegetable processing, coffee farming and processing, raising of golden shower and paulownia trees, apple mango juice production, as well as sewing and home-stay program.

To make each family project viable, the participants will be organized into clusters so that their production and services will be commercially significant.

Estimates by the POGE team indicated that after about two years of project implementation, a family enrolled in the program will be able to earn a monthly income of at least P25,000.

Ebdane said the POGE program is a realization of his pledge to develop Zambales through consensus and community participation.

“This project will create greater momentum in our desire to further develop Zambales. And what is beautiful about this scheme is that it is the people who would make it work,” Ebdane said.

In Photo: Zambales residents sign up to join the POGE livelihood program, a project launched on Saturday, September 1, by Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. to create family businesses, expand the province’s tax base and revolutionize the local economy.






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