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DOLE responds to Zamboanga City crisis
Wed, Oct 02, 2013 (Source: DOLE IX)
Zamboanga City-Starting September 9, 2013, the City has experienced a tragic event which claimed the lives of the military personnel, police officers and civilians as an offshoot of the staff-off between the government and the moro national liberation front.

Private establishments within and in the vicinity of the conflict zones are still closed which affect the income of the workers. Livelihood of informal sector workers was also affected. Work status was closely monitored from the employers’ groups to monitor resumption of business operations.

To respond to the crisis and to provide support to the Crisis Management Committee (CMC), Department of Labor and Employment, Region 9 (DOLE-9) Director Sisinio B. Cano personally met the chair of CMC Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle G. Climaco and discussed emergency employment as a pump priming program to enable the displaced workers earn an income while they are housed at the evacuation centers.

Director Cano revealed that the funds to pay the salary of workers employed under the emergency employment shall be taken from the approved Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) granted to the City Government of Zamboanga. “We have Four Million Pesos intended for emergency employment and livelihood projects for the displaced workers. This would initially benefit 1,300 workers if this amount will be solely utilized for emergency employment,” he added.

Mayor Climaco instructed her Public Employment Service Office (PESO) staff to immediately initiate the selection of beneficiaries to commence the implementation of the program. The Mayor stressed that individuals to be employed shall prioritize the women and be assigned at the evacuation centers to maintain sanitation and cleanliness in the area.

Meanwhile, DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz instructed her staff to closely monitor and coordinate with the various stakeholders to gather data and other relevant information which will serve as bases in evaluating appropriate assistance of the Department for the displaced workers. Secretary Baldoz said “we are more concerned on the income and livelihood of our formal and informal sector workers which were affected by the crisis. We will work with the CMC, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and other partners at the ground to enable our staff to profile and conduct needs assessment. We are waiting on the report from DOLE-9 for us to evaluate and look for additional funding if necessary for emergency employment, livelihood and skills trainings. We are happy to note that the Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. headed by Mr. Pedro Rufo Soliven and the Industrial Group of Zamboanga Incorporated (IGZI) through a letter sent by Messrs. Edgar Lim and Roberto Valerio, intend to provide emergency employment to the unemployed individuals affected by the crisis for a period of not more than six months.”

On the other hand, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Region 9 (TESDA-9) offered a free massage therapy to the evacuees and the frontline staff manning the evacuation centers. Last September 26, 2013, TESDA-9 starter its skills training on coin purse and “burloloy” making for the displaced residents in the city who are currently housed in the evacuation center at the Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex.

(DOLE 9 - TSSD)

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