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  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) yesterday signed a grant agreement to support sustainable livelihood and community enterprise development in regions affected by Typhoon Yolanda. Under the agreement, the ILO will provide $480,000 to DSWD to rebuild livelihood assets and support community- driven enterprises.

    It will cover 36 municipalities affected by Yolanda in Northern Cebu, Tacloban, Leyte and Coron, Palawan.

    The partnership will assist 1,200 vulnerable workers and guarantee minimum wage, social security, health and accident insurance coverage. Personal protective equipment such as masks, hats, gloves, boots, and protective clothing will also be provided to ensure safety at work. The grant agreement was signed by Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman and director Lawrence Jeff Johnson of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines. The ILO estimated that about six million workers were affected when Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines in November 2013.
    Of these, 2.6 million workers were already in vulnerable employment and living near or at the poverty line even before the onslaught of the storm.

    While much progress has been made in rebuilding lives and livelihood within the first year since the super typhoon struck, the country experienced typhoons Ruby and Seniang in December 2014 which affected the same communities and thousands of vulnerable workers who still lack decent work and sustainable livelihood opportunities.

    The ILO said this collaboration comes at an opportune time when international humanitarian aid is dwindling and the focus of the response is shifting towards long-term development.

    “This partnership with ILO will provide ‘Yolanda’ survivors with sustainable and decent sources of livelihood to help them regain normalcy in their lives. By providing them with a sustainable source of livelihood, we are both ensuring that they can stand on their own feet and protecting them from being exploited,” Soliman said.

    The project, to continue until June 2015, takes an integrated approach using DSWD’s Cash for Building Livelihood Assets and the Community-Driven Enterprise Development approaches, while complementing ILO’s experience on placing decent work and livelihood at the forefront of disaster response and recovery.

    “We support the Philippine government in building back better through decent work and sustainable livelihood. Together, we will reach out to workers in vulnerable employment, who often have no choice but to accept or create whatever work is available in order to survive,” Johnson said.

    To date, more than 15,300 individual workers or 76,500 family members were initially assisted through the ILO’s emergency employment program in Coron, Northern Cebu, Leyte, Ormoc and Tacloban.

    Through medium-term local resource-based works, skills training and enterprise development, the ILO and its partners assisted over 14,100 individual workers or 70,500 family members.

    DSWD’s community-driven approach to livelihood rehabilitation focuses on immediate cash transfer as an incentive for rebuilding community livelihood assets, skills training and the provision of starter kits.

    The community-driven enterprise development work also recognizes it is necessary to help families venture into alternative livelihood. (A. celis, Malaya)

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