The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has released over P128 million to aid areas hit by the destructive earthquake last month.
According to Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma, the assistance has benefitted 16,526 victims of the strong tremor that devastated many parts of Northern Luzon.
Laguesma said a total of P128,908,073.54 was disbursed by DOLE for its aid and continuing programs in response to the calamity.
“The bulk of the assistance or over P57 million was mainly coursed through the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or TUPAD,” Laguesma said.
TUPAD is DOLE’s cash-for-work program used for disaster response.
“The remaining part of the fund went to financing our continuing programs such as skills training, government internship program, livelihood and AKAP,” he said.
AKAP is a one-time financial aid given to returning overseas Filipino workers affected by a crisis.
Among the continuing programs is the joint training-cum-production and emergency employment program of DOLE and TESDA for the pool of workers to do rehabilitation works on damaged infrastructure and heritage structures.
Areas covered by the aid program were Region 1 in Ilocos, Region 2 in Cagayan Valley and the Cordillera Administrative Region, Laguesma said.
He said Ilocos Region got the highest assistance worth more than 72 million which benefitted 7,300 victims while CAR which hosts Abra – the epicenter of the quake – received over P55 million to support 9,190 quake-hit residents.
On the other hand, more than P200,000 in assistance was given to Cagayan Valley with 36 beneficiaries, he added.
Laguesma said DOLE is continuously monitoring developments in Northern Luzon so it can determine the response it can deliver to the needy provinces.
“Our instruction from the President is very clear and that is to help our countrymen recover from the tragedy. We are sending help to the affected regions as fast as we can,” he added.