With CLEEP: RP thankful amidst crisis
By Rizalie A. Calibo
Province of Siquijor (30 June) -- The financial crisis in many countries has triggered economic and social crisis resulting from growing unemployment and poverty.
In the Philippines, various steps were undertaken to ensure that the economy will not be hit hard by recession if it does come.
Recent Malacaņang statements assured that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not stop in making ways and means to cushion the impact of the recession in the Philippines predicted to hit the country soon.
Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr., chief of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), reported the President's move in the face of the prediction of world bodies that the economy of the country would contract by one percent this year, resulting in recession or zero growth rate.
"Upon realization that the global economic crisis is indeed reaching our shores, even worse than we had predicted, the President ordered the adoption of measures that could prevent further contraction or recession of the economy," Esperon said.
One of these is the government's Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Project (CLEEP) which in the past few months has been fairly implemented by different government agencies in various provinces nationwide.
In Siquijor province, unemployed housewives, out-of-school youths, students, different associations, micro, Small and Medium Enterprises or MSMEs and even inmates got their share of the government efforts through the series of livelihood and skills training conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here.
"Dako kaayo akong pasalamat sa gihatag nga training ubos sa programa sa CLEEP kay kini nakadugang sa among income ug dako ug ikatabang sa among panginahanglanon sa prisohan. Bisan ako nabilanggo naka-income ko tungod sa paghimo ug mga basket ug bayong ug sa uban pang Livelihood program sama sa vegetable gardening nga among gihimo diri sa Provincial Jail. Bag-o pa gyud ko nahalinan ug bayong." Stanley Pangasian, a 35 year old inmate from Caipilan, Siquijor said.
Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Project or CLEEP is designed to provide emergency employment to unemployed citizens, some of whom were laid off from work here and abroad.
It is also meant to employ or re-employ those who had been laid off from jobs here and abroad when employers reduced their workers due to the heightening global economic crisis.
"I've been jobless for years but with the CLEEP program I am now employed as Price Monitor in the province of Siquijor,' another 33 year old BS in Mechanical Engineering graduate, Jonathan D. Ocao said.
As of June, nearly 800 Siquijodnons have availed of the program, which kicked off in February this year.
From February to June, the DTI here has conducted Skills Training on Handicraft Production under the Subcontracting Partners for Innovation (SPIN) training to some 508 weavers from the towns of Siquijor, San Juan and Larena.
Some 147 unemployed housewives, OSYs and MSMEs have also availed of the Skills Training on Beadwork (40 individuals); skills training on table skirting (60), skills training on flower arrangements (47 persons).
Another training on Product Development for the Coco craft Industry was conducted in the towns of Maria and Lazi and on Financial Management for MSMEs in Siquijor, Siquijor.
Also part of the CLEEP program was the conduct of Tabo sa Mamumuo last June 15 to 16 at the Siquijor Capital square where 19 exhibitors have participated.
And while the government undertook pump-priming and front-loading, it at the same time asked the private sector to contribute for the country.
Meanwhile, defending the foreign trips of the President, Malacaņang officials said these were designed not only to promote friendly relationship between the Philippines and those countries but also to invite more investors that can open jobs and help stimulate the economy.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's global engagements have provided economic links that help shelter the Philippines from the full brunt of the present global economic meltdown, Press Secretary Cerge M. Remonde said.
He stressed this, saying the President's most recent working visit to Japan and state visit to Brazil, have yielded many benefits for the Filipino people.
"One key to keeping our economy strong has been a strong engagement with other countries," the Press Secretary said. (PIA) [top]