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DOLE aids NL quake victims

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has rolled out its various aid programs for earthquake victims in Northern Luzon.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said the move is in response to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s call to concerned state agencies to help calamity-hit provinces in Region 1 and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

He said he has allocated an initial P50 million for emergency employment in the two regions.

Ilocos Sur is the epicenter of the 7-magnitude quake that struck Luzon early this week. Aside from killing four people and injuring hundreds, the strong tremor also destroyed properties worth billions, resulting to shop closures and job losses.

DOLE wasted no time to deliver assistance in Region 1 and CAR where the adverse impact of the recent disaster was most felt.

To boost the state’s calamity response, Laguesma said DOLE will start its rehabilitation program for those who lost their jobs due to the tragedy.

“In particular, we are rolling out the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating  Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers program for the quake victims,” he added.

Laguesma said the program will cover four heavily affected Municipalities in CAR including 37 baranggays in the region.

The labor chief said they have started profiling beneficiaries for the TUPAD program.

He noted that DOLE is an active member of the Rehabilitation and Recovery Cluster under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

“As such, we are mandated to reduce the vulnerability to risks of the poor and marginalized workers,” he added.

Laguesma said DOLE is also eyeing to tap other recovery measures that include employment facilitation through the Public Employment Services Office (PESO) for individuals who lost their jobs.

“The activity will include referral, placement, and the conduct of Special Risk Allowance (SRA) and job fairs in the region,” he added.

In Region 1, DOLE delivered assistance in Ilocos Sur and vowed to help other parts of the province in the coming days.

Using TUPAD, Laguesma said DOLE tapped 800 emergency workers to participate in clearing, cleaning up and recycling operations in Vigan City.

Similar undertakings were done in seven other towns namely Lidlidda, Sugpon, Caoayan, San Emilio, Galimuyod and Santa Cruz, he said.

“They started working yesterday (July 28) to provide help to affected communities,” the Labor Secretary said, adding that a total of P4,666,400.00 was allotted for the program.

He said DOLE is also going to support other areas affected by the disaster. “Help is on the way to the other three provinces of Region 1 where TUPAD will also come into play,” Laguesma said.

“Field offices of DOLE in Region 1 are now in coordination with the local government units and other agencies for convergent assistance,” he added.

The Labor chief said TUPAD is the DOLE’s initial action to address the needs of the quake victims. “We shall tap other available programs very soon to help our needy countrymen,” Laguesma added.

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