Lingayen, Pangasinan – Three pilot rice retail stores dubbed Bigasang Bayani launched in three municipalities – Mangaldan, San Jacinto, Manaoag – on June 28.
Governor Amado I. Espino, III, DOLE Regional Director Nathaniel V. Lacambra and Pangasinan PESO Manager Alex F. Ferrer, led the launching of the Bigasang Bayani, along with other local government unit officials from the three respective municipalities of the 4th district namely, Mangaldan, San Jacinto, and Manaoag.
The cluster of rice retail stores located in the three pilot municipal markets is a livelihood program conceptualized to aid members of the Overseas Filipino/ Workers’ association and their families through entrepreneurial opportunities.
According to PESO Manager Alex Ferrer, Bigasang Bayani, a first in the country, is one of the components of Pangasinan Migration and Development Council’s (PMDC) flagship program Bantay Barangay, Tulong Hanapbuhay which initially enabled OFW mapping all over the province establishing the OFW family association, and eventually the province-wide Pangasinan OFW Family Federation Incorporated (POFFI).
The opening of the rice retail stores were made possible through the strong support of the provincial chief executive in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) funded through a memorandum of agreement.
The grant, with DOLE shouldering 80 percent, and with the provincial government sharing 20 percent amounting to a total of Php 1,025,931 for the three rice retail stores’ stocks, equipment, and other miscellaneous fees as well as rice stocks for the barangay retail store extension located in the different barangays of the three pilot municipalities.
PESO Manager Ferrer stressed that more rice retail stores are to open in the coming months to cater not only to the OF/W associations’ families but to the public as well. /Krystle Mae J. Reamon