SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – Persons deprived of liberty (PDL) at the Antique Rehabilitation Center (ARC) here sustain their families through their income from mushroom production.
In an interview on Friday, ARC Warden Eduardo Ebon said 50 PDLs, some of whom have been charged with such offenses as homicide but have undergone rehabilitation and are just waiting to be released, have embarked on whole mushroom production.
“(Their) families are happy that they still have income to sustain them,” Ebon said.
He recalled that back in 2019, the ARC sought the assistance of an Antiqueño to impart his knowledge of growing mushrooms with PDLs.
Ebon said mushroom production would be a lucrative source of livelihood for the PDLs once they are discharged and start leading normal lives.
“The PDLs, as they are learning the entire process of mushroom production, are also earning at the same time,” he said, noting that their pay depends on the work they do in the production process.
They get paid PHP1 for making one mushroom grow bag.
Alias Boy, the trainer and quality control officer, said in an interview that they feel fortunate to have a source of income while still at the ARC – whether for their personal needs or their families.
“We are now able to support our families because of our income from mushroom cultivation,” he said,
Boy said 500 grow bags yield 2 kg. to 3 kg. of mushroom, which is sold at PHP200 per kg.
Those not sold in the market are processed into mushroom chicharon and mushroom burger patty.
“I train the PDLs in making mushroom chicharon, which is being sold for PHP120 per 100 grams and burger patty for PHP20 each,” he said.
The grow bags are also sold at PHP30 apiece.
“We not only earn income for our own families. We also help other people earn a living by reselling our products,” Boy said.
He said when he finally leaves the ARC, he intends to put up his own mushroom business.
“Since I already know how to propagate the mushroom and produce its by-products, I am confident that I would have a source of living when I am freed,” Boy said.
Those interested to become resellers could place their orders at 0936-694-3174. (PNA)