Speaker unveils 'Rolling Kusina' for poor

- Paolo Romero () - June 5, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. led yesterday the launching of the “Rolling Kusina,” a self-employment program for the poor that can be converted into a vehicle for emergency response or supplemental feeding during disaster relief efforts.

The Rolling Kusina, an initiative of Ang Kasangga party-list Rep. Ted Haresco, is a yellow multicab whose passenger compartment had been converted into a kitchen unit.

Belmonte unveiled several units at the North Wing foyer of the main building of the Batasang Pambansa.

The Rolling Kusina is a fully mobile, self-contained food service unit that is capable of moving to different areas, and there serve food and beverages.

“I feel this is a timely response to helping create employment – and of course entrepreneurship opportunities – for our countrymen,” Haresco said, as he pointed out that a latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that showed unemployment among adults had reached a record high of 34.4 percent as of March 2012.

He said the Rolling Kusina business would suit women entrepreneurs, especially those familiar with the traditional household roles of budgeting, marketing, and cooking.

“This jibes with further findings of the SWS survey which showed that while unemployment rose by 12 percent for men – from 15.2 percent in December 2011 to 27.2 percent in March 2012 – the figures for women were much higher, going from 35.6 percent to 43 percent in the same period.”

The lawmaker said each Rolling Kusina unit can be operated by up to three persons, “but the staff required to run the business will mean employment for at least two more persons.”

“The Rolling Kusina combines food business, and mobility. This allows it to go to where people and demand are, instead of vice-versa. The idea is to extend the reach of a restaurant, increase the capacity utilization of its kitchen unit, and serve more people. In so doing, entrepreneurs can maximize income,” Haresco said.

“This represents a new business opportunity and livelihood program aimed to benefit the party-list’s constituents, who are composed of entrepreneurs, micro, and small businessmen,” he said.

At any point in time, each side of the van can serve up to seven persons, but the menu selection, snack items such as siomai, lugaw and fried squid balls and fish balls, in addition to soft drinks and bottled water, are served quickly and therefore suited for takeout orders as well, he said.

As such, the earning potential is greater than that of a restaurant, carinderia, or sari-sari store, he said.

“With restaurants, there is the rent to consider. Unlike regular restaurants which normally don’t have customers outside of the breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours, the Rolling Kusina can actually drive to areas where there are people. The selection of items ensures that there will always be someone who will buy them,” he said.

Haresco, a member of the Joint Oversight Committee on National Disaster Risk Relief and Management, said the project can also help during times of calamities or in feeding programs.

He said the configuration of the Rolling Kusina allows it to be mobilized immediately, driven to disaster relief centers, and there serve as distribution points for food, water, and other essential items.

“Being a self-contained unit, the Rolling Kusina can serve up hot and clean meals in these situations,” he said.

“Typical calamity responses from the public and disaster relief agencies consist of massive contributions of bigas (uncooked rice) and instant noodles, which is sometimes a problem because often, there is no access to clean water or a heating source to cook these items in relief centers,” he added.

“It is certainly a faster response to having to call for donated goods, sending them to the calamity area. The Rolling Kusina is ready to go within a short time,” he said.

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