DOLE to release P2.78 M for emergency employment of 500 Masbate earthquake victims

MASBATE CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Bicol through its Masbate Provincial Field Office will be providing a short-term emergency employment to 500 affected residents of the earthquake that hit Masbate in August.

Under its Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program, a total of P2.78 million will be downloaded to LGU Cataingan, Masbate as the accredited co-partner of DOLE.

“Through this program we may be able to address the impact of the magnitude 6.6 earthquake to affected workers in the informal sector by providing them with emergency employment,” said Ella Verano, DOLE Masbate Provincial Director.

This immediate assistance was made possible through Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello’s III commitment and eagerness to help victims cope with the effects of the earthquake.

Among the worker-beneficiaries is Flordeliza Cortez of Poblacion, Cataingan Masbate who was greatly affected by the magnitude 6.6 earthquake leaving her home damaged.

“Ginawan naman ako ng balay-balayan ng akong mga kapitbahay, gin buligan naman ako maski dyutay. Di man kami maka sulod saamong balay masyado talagang dikit ang among turugan, ada na an kusina, ada na an kaunan,” Cortez narrated.

She shared that she has been providing laundry service to make both ends meet. But when the calamity struck Cataingan, she only works once a week now earning P500 from washing to ironing clothes.

Her dilemma is how to have a permanent house to live in. Until now, she said, they stay in a temporary shelter built by their neighbors because they cannot afford to fix their own.

With TUPAD, she will be working for fifteen (15) days with a minimum wage of P310.00 per day.

 Meanwhile, Atty. Felipe L. Cabataña, Municipal Mayor of LGU-Cataingan expressed his gratitude to DOLE through its TUPAD.

“In behalf of the people of Cataingan, we wish to extend our thanks to the Hon. Secretary Silvestre Bello III for the assistance given to the earthquake victims. We are very grateful for the help during our extreme needs. We will continue to make Cataingan rise and be back to its normal activities,” Atty. Cabataña, said during the virtual awarding ceremony.

Regional Director Joel M. Gonzales said that as the province reels from the debilitating impact of the earthquake, TUPAD helps the victims particularly those who are in the informal sector recover from the economic displacement and loss of livelihood.

“Earthquakes, volcanic eruption and floods are some of the natural calamities that occur every year, at any point, and anywhere, causing threats to the livelihoods of residents and their food security. Agriculture as the major livelihood in this region is greatly affected by the impact of any disaster that may strike, thus disrupting economic activity of a community. With our community-based package of short-term wage employment assistance or TUPAD, we are able to mitigate the impact of these on workers in the informal economy,” Gonzales explained.