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Bacolod City, PhilippinesWednesday, December 4, 2013
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Cash-for-work scheme eyed
for super typhoon survivors

The International Labor Organization is eyeing a cash-for-food program in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, in response to the destruction brought about by super typhoon “Yolanda” last month, Marivic Mondragon, Provincial Director of the Department of Labor and Employment, said yesterday.

Some beneficiaries from several barangays have already been identified for the program, Mondragon said.

She added, however, that they will still have a meeting tomorrow with representatives of the ILO, the Social Security System, and from the Cadiz local government.

The SSS will be involved because a social security aspect is being eyed for the scheme, Mondragon told the DAILY STAR in a telephone interview last night.

DOLE Region 6 Director Ponciano Ligutom, is expected to lead the discussions, she also said.

Meanwhile, Simon Hills, ILO Disaster Response and Livelihoods Development Officer, said in its first sectoral needs assessment published by the UN, that at least 100,000 decent jobs have to be provided in areas devastated by “Yolanda”.

“Ensuring jobs for 100,000 men and women that include minimum wages, sound occupational safety, skills development and social protection can change the lives of 500,000 people within 12 months, and beyond,” Hills said.

Hills also said providing sustainable and decent work can also speed up the recovery process and lead to a “multiplier effect” and difference to their lives.

He added that the wage earned could support a family of five members as they would have purchasing power which would be good for the economy.

Hills said the Philippine government, with the support of the ILO, has already set up Emergency Employment Programs in Leyte and Samar, two of the worst-hit areas.

He said that around 17,000 people have registered and are ready to work, clearing roads, rehabilitating schools, cleaning hospitals and public infrastructure.

“Three other programs are about to start in Northern Cebu, Negros Occidental and Coron (Palawan),” Hills added.

However, he added that while the short-term employment can help the affected people to normalcy, it is still not enough to sustain their long-term needs.

“We also need to provide people with opportunities to develop skills through livelihood that will enable them to have more stable and reliable sources of income and social protection, inclusive of health insurance,” Hills added.

Based on ILO’s assessment of the vast devastation of typhoon ‘Yolanda’, around 5.6 million Filipino workers have lost their livelihoods, temporarily or permanently.

Of the total number, about 2.4 million were already working in vulnerable forms of employment before the typhoon.

The ILO further said that many of these people run the risk of returning to poverty if their need to have decent jobs are not addressed immediately.*PP/PNA


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