Duque, Esperon grace 111th Independence Day rites in Region I
By Jennilyne C. Role
San Fernando City, La Union (12 June) --- Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) Stewards Secretary Francisco T. Duque III of the Department of Health and Secretary Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr. of the Presidential Management Staff spearheaded the celebration of the 111th Independence Day here this morning.
The two stewards were given full military honors given by the Philippine National Police upon arrival at the celebration site infront of San Fernando City hall.
They were welcomed by Presidential Assistant for Northern Luzon Dr. Enrie A. Mendoza, La Union Vice Governor Eulogio Clarence Martin de Guzman III, San Fernando City Vice-Mayor Pancracio Nisce, and PNP Regional Director P/Supt Ramon V. Gatan.
Simultaneous with the celebration in Cotabato City where President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led the rite, Secretaries Duque and Esperon led the flag raising at the city plaza followed by the laying of the Presidential wreath at the monument of Dr. Jose P. Rizal here.
Wreaths from the provincial government of La Union offered by Vice Governor Eulogio Clarence Martin de Guzman III together with the members of the Provincial Board and that of the city government of San Fernando offered by Vice-Mayor Pancrasio Nisce with the city council followed.
The Union Masonic Lodge No. 70 and Siete Marteres No. 117 also offered wreaths in honor of the martyrdom of our heroes.
During the program proper, Duque emphasized the various health-related assistance programmed for Region I; the different employment opportunities awaiting our displaced workers, the youth and those who are in need of jobs locally and overseas, together with the different livelihood opportunities for our constituents, in his keynote address.
Duque and Esperon awarded around 7,377 employment contracts to pre-selected beneficiaries from 14 regional line agencies with jobs varies from bantay gubat, bantay dagat, and forest extension officers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; administrative aides of the Department of National Defense – Philippine Navy, Department of Health – Center for Health Development I (DOH-CHD I), DOLE - Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, DOLE – Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, DOLE – Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, Department of Tourism, at Department of Social Welfare and Development; utility workers, Tulong Pangkabuhayan para sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) workers at Nurses Assigned in the Rural Service (NARS) of the DOLE; SRA/watchman workers of the Department of Science and Technology; administrative projects/construction workers of the Department of Public Workers and Highways; price monitors of the Department of Trade and Industry; Civil Registration System/Information Technology Project workers of the National Statistics Office and utility workers of the National Telecommunications.
These employment contracts falls under the CLEEP project of the government as directed under Executive Order 782, mandating all government agencies to allocate 1.5% of their total MOOE budget.
For the livelihood assistance awarded by the CLEEP stewards to identified beneficiaries, a total of 1,546 checks totaling to P9,878,150.00 were given from seven agencies namely Department of Agrarian Reform, DA-BFAR, DOH-CHD, DOLE, DOLE-OWWA at DENR.
Around 2,355 Pangulong Gloria Scholarship Program from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and 556 Student Financial Assistance Program of the Commission on Higher Education that covers five components namely: 1) One Town One Scholar, 2) Full Merit Scholarship, 3) Half Merit Scholarship, 4) Tulong Dunong and 5) Study Now Pay Later.
All the recipient-beneficiaries were accompanied by the respective agency heads during the awarding.
Right after the program infront of the city hall, Duque and Esperon, together with the other guests, regional executives, government employees and private organizations proceeded to the CSI The City Mall where the Mega Jobs and Livelihood Fair is being held.
The CLEEP stewards led the ribbon cutting ceremonies at the entrance of the mall signaling the opening of the jobs and livelihood fair and at the entrance of the grocery store for the 'Diskwento Plus' program of DTI, giving away 10-50% discount on selected items from the grocery and non-grocery goods.
A 30-minutes press conference followed where Duque and Esperon clarified issues on the Influenza A(H1N1) virus and the jobs offering awaiting aspirants' applicants.
Around 5,000 people flack to the mall during the opening of the mega jobs and livelihood fair. (PIA RO-I/La Union) [top]