DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 11 allotted a total of P6.5 million assistance from its special funds for emergency employment in the municipalities hit by Typhoon Pablo, a government official said.

DOLE-11 regional director Joffrey Suyao said in an interview the Student Assistance through Government Internship Program (SAGIP) Mag-aaral and SAGIP Manggagawa under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Disadvantaged Workers or TUPAD were the department’s project interventions so far.

He said mostly farm workers and students residing in Compostela Valley (ComVal) and Davao Oriental affected by Pablo will benefit from the projects.

A student or a worker will receive P225.75 a day or 75 percent of the minimum wage in the region, which is P301, as a compensation for an eight-hour work, Suyao said. He added that the program will be 10 working days for students and 15 days for workers.

The emergency employment projects will cover 200 workers and 100 students for each of the municipalities of New Bataan, Compostela, Monkayo, Montevista and Laak in ComVal, and Baganga, Cateel, Boston and Caraga in Davao Oriental.

Suyao said the SAGIP Manggagawa will be officially rolled out in January, although the municipality of Boston had already begun the employment as it depends on the work programs of the local government units (LGU).

The jobs will be declogging of canals and clearing of debris, among other public works needed by each LGU, he said.

“These projects will assist the affected workers to start up somehow and give them a sense of ‘bayanihan’ (community work) or caring for their community,” he told reporters.

A total of 134 students were given orientation for the SAGIP Mag-aaral Project last Dec. 18 at the DOLE-11 regional office and 90 of them were deployed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 11 Relief Operations Center in the city.

But Suyao said only some 60 students reported to the DSWD 11, while the rest were deployed in their respective municipalities to conduct profiling of victims.

He added that the profiling will help the department gather data for future program of interventions in the affected areas.

About 200 students were also given orientation on Dec. 19 at the University of Mindanao-Tagum College.

Livelihood assistance

DOLE-11, along with Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, conducted a consultation in Tagum City last Dec. 19 with some 60 officials from union federations in the provinces for possible assistance.

At the meeting, the DOLE-11 gave certificates of entitlement for livelihood projects worth P250,000 each to three unions, namely, Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farms (NAMASUFA), Freshmax Workers Union (FWU) and Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa San Jose (NAMASAN) under the National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Suyao cited that the livelihood projects were rice trading and meat processing for NAMASUFA, and consumer stores for FWU and NAMASAN.

But he said the assistance will be given in a form of materials and equipment to be purchased by January as the funds will be coming from the regular livelihood fund for 2013.

The LGU will have a counterpart in the form of tools and equipment, he added.

Suyao said the 2012 livelihood fund worth P9 million was already consumed, but there are many projects in the pipeline to be covered by the 2013 budget, which will be released by January.

The livelihood projects of the three unions will be prioritized awaiting the release of budget, while the leg-working and other preparations are ongoing, he said.

Noting that it is a reorientation of an existing livelihood project to help workers start up from their loss due to the calamity, Suyao said all unions in Davao Oriental and some in ComVal already submitted project proposals to his office for approval.

He added that they will conduct assessment of the livelihood projects after a few months for possible additional assistance.

Suyao said the damages of Typhoon Pablo was overwhelming, considering the future of the people affected, citing that most of them had left their municipalities to seek employment.

“Everything is back to zero,” he said, citing that a project for the fisherfolk in Davao Oriental that had been implemented since 2010 with a full blast this year before Pablo hit the province was now gone.

ILO to help

Suyao said the International Labor Organization (ILO) had an initial discussion with the DOLE-11 to enter into a partnership in assisting the typhoon-hit workers in the region.

He said they are yet to discuss the type of assistance and the amount of funding, but already agreed that the DOLE-11 will handle the implementation of possible programs.

Representatives from the ILO are visiting the affected sites this week to assess and identify target areas of implementation, he added. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)