Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday assured workers affected by Typhoon Pablo in Region 11 of continuous government help until such time that the rehabilitation of their devastated communities is completed and they have been restored to their jobs and their normal lives.
Speaking before 145 worker-members of 24 unions in banana plantations in Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte, in Tagum City, Baldoz, accompanied by her two undersecretaries, Undersecretary Lourdes M. Trasmonte who heads the DOLE’s social protection and workers’ welfare cluster, and Undersecretary Rebecca Chato, who heads the DOLE’s labor relations cluster, said the DOLE is genuinely concerned about the welfare of the workers and their families, so much so that it is allocating all its remaining resources for 2012 for its emergency employment and livelihood programs, not only in Region 11, but also in the Caraga region which also suffered immense destruction.
Baldoz was in Tagum for a dialogue with the worker-union members who were attending a consultation-cum-orientation on DOLE’s interventions for workers affected by Typhoon Pablo.
“I assure you that the DOLE will continue to assist you until the situation in your respective communities has returned to normal. Let us also help each other to ease the hurt and burden brought by the typhoon among our unfortunate fellow Filipinos,” she said, adding:
“My sympathies go to those who lost their loved ones because of the typhoon.”
During the occasion, Baldoz, assisted by Trasmonte, Chato, and DOLE Region 11 Director Joffrey Suyao, distributed relief goods to the workers donated by the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (FFCCCI).
She also witnessed the signing of the memorandums of agreement between the DOLE and three workers’ organizations and the release of a livelihood grants of P250,000 each–or a total of P750,000–to these organizations whose members were affected by the typhoon.
The three workers’ organizations, namely, Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm-NAFLU-KMU; Freshmax Workers’ Union-FWU-NAFLU-KMU; and Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa San Jose-NAMASAN-NAFLU-KMU, have been accredited by the DOLE regional office as co-partners in the implementation of the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program towards Community Enterprise Development (DILP-CED).
The Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farms-NAFLU-KMU, the workers’ union at the Suyapa Farms Growers Association based in Upper Siocon, Compostela Valley, , with 83 members, will use its P250,000 grant assistance as additional working capital for its rice trading and meat processing business.
The Freshmax Workers’ Union-FWU-NAFLU-KMU, the workers’ organization at Freshmax Corporation, whose 160 hectares of banana plantation have been destroyed by the typhoon, will receive P250,000-worth of basic goods inventory for its consumer store which will directly benefit its 64 members and, indirectly, other non-union workers at the company.
The same is true with the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa San Jose-NAMASAN-NAFLU-KMU, the workers’ organization at the NEDA Farms Growers’ Association in Barangay San Jose, Compostela Valley. The union will also receive P250,000-worth of basic goods inventories for its consumer store which will directly benefit its 78 members.
“I urge you to maximize the benefits from this government assistance by ensuring that your small businesses grow. I know that this assistance, modest as it may be to meet your gigantic needs, will come a long way in helping you deal with the ill-effects of the natural calamity that hit you,” Baldoz said.
She handed out the certificates of entitlement to Vicente Barrios, president of the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farms-NAFLU-KMU; Joel Cuyos, president of Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa San Jose-NAMASAN-NAFLU-KMU; and Victor Millalos, vice president of Freshmax Workers’ Union-FWU-NAFLU-KMU.
Secretary Baldoz said the DOLE sourced out the livelihood grants from the Tulong Panghanapbuhay Para sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) and the Workers Income Augmentation Program (WIN-AP).
Under the memorandum of agreement, the unions or workers’ organizations will provide a counterpart funding of 20 percent for their identified business. The DOLE, on the other hand, will provide the unions appropriate technical assistance, whenever necessary, or as may be requested. It will also continually monitor their livelihood projects.