Jobs fair, services banner Independence Day celebration in Baguio
by Lito Dar
Baguio City (20 June) -- "With the present global economic turndown, we are fortunate enough that the Philippines is among the few countries that are not severely affected." In line with this, "President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo opt to have jobs fair, livelihood fair, skills demonstration, health information & counseling and government agency programs and service booths, rather than the usual parade, entertainment and cultural shows," in celebrating our 111th Independence Day celebration last June 12.
These were the words of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Esperanza Cabral, one of the two stewards of the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) in Cordillera, during the "Kalayaan 2009" celebration held at the Baguio Convention Center on Junec12.
"Kagitingan, Kagalingan at Kasipagan tungo sa ganap na Kalayaan, ito ang pinili ng ating pangulo na tema ng pagdiriwang. Ang ating kalayaan, bagama't buo para sa bansa ay maaaring hindi ito buo para sa isa't-isa", Cabral said in her message.
"Kailangan nating pagyamanin at pangalagaan an gating kagalingan at kasipagan para sa lubos na kalayaan." "Independence day is much meaningful to us now, as it is 110 years ago," (as our fight for a complete independence today) "is not a resistance against external control but to triumph over our people's struggle against societal ill like poverty, malnutrition, gender inequality, poor health, illiteracy and environmental degradation."
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Lito Atienza, the other CLEEP steward for Cordillera, shares Cabral's view. In a message read by DENR Undersecretary Eleazar Quinto, Atienza calls for unity among people in the fight against poverty, environmental degradation and against whatever problems or life struggle that we are facing today and in the future.
"Ang pamahalaan ay katulong sa paglikha ng maraming hanapbuhay sa Cordillera, at ang DENR ay inatasan ng ating pangulo na mamahagi ng emergency employment," said Atienza's message.
In a press briefing after the program, DENR-Cordillera Regional Executive Director Primitivo Galinato Jr, announced that they have just awarded more than 8,000 jobs and livelihood certificates - 278 emergency employment jobs, 6,324 jobs under its Upland Development Program, and 1,676 jobs under its Hunger Mitigation Program. They are also now in the process of recruiting 11,700 "Bantay Gubat" workers, which will be given a monthly allowance of P3,000 until December, he added.
For poverty alleviation programs, Galinato also announced that DENR has 12 Upland Development projects in Cordillera - 3 in Apayao, 4 in Abra and 5 in Mt Province- amounting to P18 Million pesos. These are expected to benefit 7,733 beneficiaries.
For DSWD, Cabral announced that they have just awarded P896,025 worth of Cash for Work certificates for nine municipalities in Abra and two municipalities in Apayao, which would provide employment to almost 700 individuals.
For livelihood, DSWD also awarded P2,410,000 worth of capital seeds fund for Abra and Apayao. This is aside from the 4Ps or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the DSWD, a conditional fund transfer for the marginalized families in Abra, Apayao, as well as in Baguio City that provides a maximum of P1,400 monthly assistance for every family beneficiaries.
According to Emelita Ferrer, Technical Support Division chief of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-CAR), 10,551 jobseekers registered during the 3-day Kalayaan '09 Mega Jobs fair, 4,786 of them personally went to the Baguio Convention Center and the La Trinidad Municipal Hall, while 5,765 registered at the Phil Jobs Net.
A total of 2,274 livelihood checks, 331 training vouchers, 80 scholarship vouchers and 7,513 emergency employment contracts were also awarded by various government line agencies, in line with the President's directive to step-up the implementation of the government's CLEEP. (PIA) [top]