Friday, 27 February 2009

Philippine gov’t to hire 180,000 workers under 6-month emergency employment program


MANILA (PND) -- Malacañang has set the stage for the temporary employment of 180,000 Filipinos from the middle and middle-low income classes and the poorest of the poor as part of the government’s strategy to cushion the impact of the deepening global financial turmoil.

In Executive Order (EO) No. 738, which Malacañang released today, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stressed that the 180,000 workers to be hired for six months far exceed the number of job losses of 39,000 since last year as reported by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Under the EO, the President directed all Cabinet members to draw up and prepare emergency work programs, doable and fundable livelihood projects designed to benefit the vulnerable sectors of the population.

She ordered all government agencies to set aside 1.5 percent of their respective allocations for maintenance, overhead and operating expenses for the six-month emergency employment program.

The temporary employees may be assigned to conduct census, surveys, price monitoring and other activities earlier identified in the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Em0ployment Program (CLEEP), the President said.

Of the 180,000 jobs to be opened, 50,000 will be in Region lV-A and the Bicol provinces; 20,000 in Cebu, Mactan Economic Zones, Leyte and Samar; 20,000 in the Subic and Clark Economic Zones, Pampanga, Tarlac, Bataan and Zambales, and 5,000 in the CARAGA region.

The remainder will be “distributed among the other regions of the country, with priority for the 10 poorest provinces and the 1,000 poorest municipalities.”

The emergency employment program also includes “training with income support at half of minimum wage” in in-demand skills for workers.

Priority will be given to displaced workers as follows: 20,000 female workers from Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Camarines provinces and Albay; 5,000 from Region III; 5,000 from Region VII; 5,000 from the CARAGA Region, and 50,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The income support will provide for meals and transportation of the trainees.

In another significant move, the President ordered the integration of the government’s livelihood programs into a one-stop shop under the Regional Livelihood Program Office.

At present these livelihood programs are implemented separately by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (ADTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Finance (DOF), and Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs).

The President also directed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to provide opportunities for 250,000 workers over the six-month period.

On the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, the President said, the coverage should be expanded to include the CARAGA and Cordillera regions to “cover low/no income families and avoid the incidence of child labor, especially in manual mining-intensive areas.”

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