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PIA Press Release

DOLE ready for adverse effects of global financial crisis

Zamboanga City (9 February) -- Zamboanga City There are no reports yet coming from local industries relative to the adverse effects of the global financial crisis. At least in the Zamboanga Peninsula region, no business establishment has yet reported of any major retrenchment or closure of establishment, as of press time. This was disclosed by the Regional Office of the Department of labor and Employment (DOLE-9).

Director Ponciano M. Ligutom however said that a survey in the canning, fishing and seaweeds industry indicated that some local fishing companies have temporarily ceased operations mainly due to lean season.

Anticipating the worse scenario that can be fall on the country, Ligutom pointed out that the labor department is ready with livelihood assistance packages for "small workers" under the TUPAD and ISLA projects with an initial fund of P10 million. These are but components of the Comprehensive Livelihood Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

TUPAD or Tulong Panghanap Buhay para sa Ating Disadvantage workers - would address affected workers in the rubber, coconut and seaweeds industries. It provides short-term wage employment as immediate source of income to displaced workers and their families in the form of livelihood and skills opportunities.

On the other hand, ISLA or Integrated Services for Livelihood Advancement - is the assistance package for fisher folks at the coastal villages.

Ligutom specifically identified 3 fishermen associations of 20 members each, who are recent ISLA beneficiaries: These are the Kawit and the White Beach Fishermen Associations, all in Pagadian City; and the Vincenzo Sagun Fish Trading Ventures Association in Zamboanga del Sur.

DOLE Sec. Marianito Roque himself handed the livelihood financial assistance to the fisher folks, The two Pagadian groups received P198,898.50 each, while the Vincenzo group received P435,971.00. Sec. Roque was in Pagadian City last month as guest of honor and speaker during the Pasalamat Festival, Ligutom disclosed.

For displaced Filipino workers abroad, DOLE is also ready to extend assistance. Director Ligutom said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed DOLE and the Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration (OWWA) to spearhead the "simple and not complicated" implementation of program for displaced expatriate Filipino workers. The President made an initial allocation of P1 billion for livelihood support for displaced OFWs.

In compliance with the President's directive, the labor regional offices are to set up "Help Desks" at the offices of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to facilitate delivery of assistance and services of DOLE to workers at the regional and community levels, who have been displaced by the global economic crisis.

Also in the regional level, nationwide, the DOLE has reactivated the mobile Quick Response Team (QRT), which is composed of technical staff from lead member-agencies of the Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC). The main task of the QRT is to monitor, validate, and assess reports on displacements, retrenchments or closures of establishments.

The data gathered will serve as inputs in the implementation of the DOLE's assistance for workers affected by the global financial crisis. These can be through emergency employment, training, livelihood or job placement - both for local and overseas employment.

With the Labor Regional Director at the helm, the DOLE-RCC is composed the respective heads of agencies from the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA), National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), Regional Tripartite Wage & Productivity Board (RTWPB), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

With the present set up and funding support, Director Ligutom said that he feels confident that DOLE is ready to response head-on the adverse effects of the global financial crisis in this part of the country. (DOLE9 / PIA9 BASULTA) [top]

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