Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced the start of the P50 million DOLE emergency employment, or cash-for-work, program, for workers displaced by super Typhoon Yolanda with an initial 1,240 workers hired in 48 barangays in Ormoc City.

Baldoz, citing a report of Undersecretary Rebecca Chato who is the top official overseeing DOLE Region 8 operation, said Ormoc City is the first LGU to avail of the emergency program.

"The Ormoc City Engineering Office is on top of--and our partner in--the program implementation. Based on its assessment, 48 out of Ormoc City's 110 barangays are ready for the program. Each of the 48 barangays are hiring 30 workers to clear up the sites for the construction of bunkhouses and to clean-up other debris resulting from the typhoon," said Baldoz.

She said the DOLE, through Usec. Chato, is coordinating with the Departments of Interior and Local Government, Social Welfare and Development, and Public Works and Highways in the implementation of the emergency employment in areas where the bunkhouses will be built, explaining that determining the sites is best left to the expertise and jurisdictions of these departments.

"As promised, we have begun. I call on other LGUs in the devastated region to coordinate with our Regional Office, through Regional Director Exequiel Sarcauga, on the very minimum requirements to avail of the emergency employment.

Under Administrative Order No. 396-B which Baldoz issued yesterday creating the DOLE's Typhoon Yolanda Crisis Management Committee, Director Sarcauga is in-charge of determining immediate and long-term interventions for displaced workers and establishments, while his deputy, Assistant Regional Director Cyril Ticao is head of Response Team B responsible for assistance and relief goods distribution to DOLE employees. Usec. Chato heads the Crisis Management Committee.

Baldoz reiterated that local government units who wish to avail of the emergency employment program must submit their work plans.

"They will tell us how many workers will work and for how long, which should not be less than 15 days as per our agreement with Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development," she said.

"Our aim in implementing emergency employment and livelihood programs is to enable disaster-stricken families to rebuild their lives, with better access to social protection and sustainable income sources," she said.

Based on per capita cost, 12,671 workers across the provinces of Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Western Samar will benefit from the P50-million program, according to Baldoz.

"They will be paid P260 per day, the minimum wage rate in the region and they will be provided social security benefits, including insurance in case of accidents," she stated.

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