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PIA Press Release

PGMA leads nationwide 111th Freedom Day rites in Koronadal City

Davao City (12 June) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will lead the nationwide observance of the 111th Philippine Independence Day at the Rizal Shrine in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.

Aside from the traditional flag-raising rites, the Freedom Day events include the formal launch of a Mega Jobs and Livelihood Fair by switching on the electronic billboard showing the jobs available here and abroad.

The jobs and livelihood fair will be simultaneously replicated in various provincial and regional centers nationwide

She earlier said this year's Independence Day observance will be stripped of its usual pomp and pageantry and focus government and public attention on jobs and jobs generation.

This year's June 12 freedom day celebration will provide the background for the Arroyo administration's formal launch of its nationwide Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP).

CLEEP is designed to protect and assist the country's most vulnerable sectors -- the poor, overseas Filipino workers and expatriates retrenched from their foreign jobs, workers in the export industry and out-of-school youths -- from the consequences and threats of reduced or lost income resulting from the global economic crisis.

The program seeks to create some 220,000 jobs and provide emergency employment for displaced and jobless workers, as well as livelihood projects for those with entrepreneurial acumen.

CLEEP aims to achieve two crucial objectives 1) to build up the capabilities of Filipino workers and help them develop skills that will enable them to compete in tougher job markets; and 2) to create as many jobs as possible in the least possible amount of time for the poor through investments in public works and enterprise development.

President Arroyo has assigned members of her Cabinet as development stewards in specific regions to oversee and ensure the effective implementation of identified viable CLEEP programs in their respective assigned areas.

Funding for the CLEEP has been increased to P10 billion this year. CLEEP projects are administered by various government agencies but are monitored and supervised by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) as the program's lead agency.

Jobs generation is the main thrust of CLEEP with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as the lead agency in the pursuit of this endeavor, even as other line agencies have their own jobs generation targets.

Jobs created under the CLEEP are envisioned to help improve the country's infrastructure, push the growth of rural enterprises, improve public health care and food security, and stimulate private investments.

The initial phase of the program involves the setting up of public facilities that will benefit some 1.5 million Filipinos, and improve services for 7,352 families, 353 business establishments, 222 cooperatives, 1,287 barangays and nine agrarian-reform communities.

Many of the jobs generated under CLEEP's initial phase were designed to hasten the pace of the country's agricultural development. They are jobs in irrigation systems development, farm-to-market road projects, environmental protection, waste management and manufacturing services nationwide.

DOLE said some 50,000 plantilla and emergency employment positions in several government agencies are up for grabs starting Friday.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reported it has 6,000 vacancies while the Department of Education (DepEd) needs 8,000 workers.

The Departments of National Defense (DND), Health (DOH), Trade and Industry (DTI) and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will also make available employment slots during the jobs fair.

DOLE said some 30,000 emergency jobs nationwide will be provided to displaced and other jobless workers under the CLEEP while the private sector will open up some 70,000 jobs on June 13, the second day of the three-day event.

Jobs overseas will cap the big event where 50,000 sea-based and land-based jobs, mostly in services and sales industry and skilled sectors will be declared open.

Half of the overseas job orders are from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Hong Kong, Russia and Bahrain. (PIA) [top]

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