Saturday, November 8, 2014

No ultimate Yolanda recovery without stable employment - labor group

08 November 2014

The government in many aspects of the Yolanda relief and rehabilitation is a miserable failure.  A major element of the rehabilitation program where it failed the most is job creation, the local group of Partido Manggagawa (PM) in Tacloban said in a statement.

“No ultimate recovery will take place in Yolanda avenue without jobs and livelihood opportunities for its people,” asserted Judy Torres the party’s spokesman in the region.

The group had been calling for the government to make employment a priority in the Yolanda rehabilitation program.   Torres drives and operates a tricycle in Tacloban prior to Yolanda. He heads the city’s federation of tricycle drivers and operators.

According to Torres, PM and other labor groups in the region under Tingog have submitted petitions and participated in several dialogues with concerned government agencies.  “But concrete response come too slow and in trickles,” said Torres.

The labor group said the people of Leyte and Samar were manifestly strong and resilient to survive the 365 punishing days after Yolanda, “but were too tired to countenance another year without jobs or regular sources of income.”

Torres said that most of the region’s working people, particularly those who lost their formal jobs and those who lost their means of livelihood in the informal economy, survive on temporary employment provided by the government, the private sector and NGO-sponsored programs. 

“But these jobs are by nature temporary, 15 days at most under a government program, thus neither these provide a feeling of security nor lift the spirits and dignity of the hapless victims of Yolanda.  And the sad part of it is realizing that at the end of these programs, a jobless reality takes over,” lamented Torres.

Employment figures in Leyte is invisible since it was excluded in the Labor Force Survey (LFS) since April 2014.   The 2013 LFS prior to Yolanda put the unemployment rate in Eastern Visayas at 5.4% and 25.2% underemployment. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that some 19,000 workers lost their jobs to Yolanda in November last year.

The group said the government could have transformed the crisis into an employment opportunity in the areas of agriculture, mass housing, healthcare, reconstruction and infrastructure, power and transportation, green jobs, and the expansion of public service industry.  Had it been done this way, the government would have had a clear framework that centers on employment. 

In addition, the government could have demanded more money or reparation from industrial nations who are responsible for climate crisis, to ensure the country’s fast and sustainable recovery.

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