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by Bohol Standard

A P5,000 no-interest livelihood loan from the government’s social service fund has now largely funded two college students, a high school and an elementary kid, all because of a family’s judicious spending and a sheer sense of entrepreneurship.

Seemingly set in a tight situation of economic hardship and with schooling children, Hermegias Perocho has to get moving or the vicious cycle of poverty and hopelessness takes a grip in his children too.

Accessing a Self Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) no-interest livelihood loan for a proposed Bingkahan Project as a primary means of livelihood, the Perochos have promised to work hard instead of sulk at their lot.

Now at 49 years old, and for the mild mannered father who has worked as a city blue guard, the decision has kept him from the grueling task of graveyard shifts and a pay that could hardly sustain a family of 6 kids in the city.

Finally deciding to come home to his town in Pilar for better chances of survival, Perocho has worked odd jobs, tended a garden and still faced a bleak like. Until a brother taught him how to bake oven bake ricecakes in 1997 when the futire started to make a decipherable shape.

A resident of Poblacion 7 which is also a beneficiary barangay of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) livelihood assistance funds under SEA-K, Perocho succeeded in tapping the cash boost to start off his family’s business with a new oven and some ingredients for the bingkahan.

Perocho is just one of the 25 SEA-K beneficiaries who each have tapped P5000.00 no interest loans for identified various livelihood projects aimed at conquering poverty and elevating their economic conditions.

At first, we were using crude tools to grind the rice as the main ingredient, now we have a small machine that performs two tasks at the same time. One grinds the rice and the other grates the coconut for our baking requirements, to save on the gas fuel, he excitedly shares.

Their improvement can best be pictured by the bicycle for deliveries they used then to a motorbike now, so they could serve five neighboring towns of Carmen, Sierra Bullones, Pilar, Alicia and Ubay.

“We now grind 10 kilos of rice daily for our baking requirement,” because it is not the peak season.

In peak times, and by that he means harvest season in this rice growing communities, the Perochos grind at least half a sack of rice for their cakes.

Once living on a small hut, Perochos have slowly started to repair their house using the meager income from the bingka, he shared.

Now working on repairs, he said a few more jobs and it will make the house fully comfortable.

We have to stop working on the repairs due to our two college kids and a high school student who is graduating this year, he added.

Perocho’s bingkahan (rice cakes bakery using crude ovens) would need two tin ovens, which deteriorate after about 4 months of continuous daily baking, he said.

One oven is heated more to produce the tempting cracks in the cake, while the other is on a constant low fire, to make sure each cake of a dozen per feed cooks just right, according to him during a chance interview.

Contented now but seeing that he still has more problems to go when his senior high school student graduates this year, Perocho openly dreams of converting his fuel source to biogas.

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