Nearly 2K jobs opened for landslide, ‘Ompong’ victims in Itogon
BAGUIO CITY — Close to 2,000 emergency and long-term employment will be opened for the victims of Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) in Itogon town in Benguet province.
The jobs will be particularly for the families of the scores of miners and laborers who perished in a massive landslide in the town at the height of the typhoon in mid-September.
The job openings, totalling to 1,820, are a result of the convergence of various government agencies to give alternative livelihood to the survivors.
“The DOLE has 1,250 emergency employment,” said Gorge Lubin Jr., chief of the agency’s Technical Support and Services Division, during a meeting on Thursday by the economic development committee of the Regional Development Council (RDC) to thresh out livelihood options for the displaced residents of the mining town of Itogon.
Lubin said the DOLE’s emergency employment program will be for 15 days, where the workers would get PHP320 a day.
This is aside from the cash-for-work program being laid out by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) office in the Cordillera.
The Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA) will also give scholarships to about 40 persons, who will be referred to the PEZA locators.
Engineer Salvador Genitiano of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said the agency under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will hire 280 protection officers, who will manage the 245 hectares identified as bamboo plantation sites in Itogon.
Those hired will be organized into a cooperative by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), he said.
The DENR’s job program for the Itogon victims has a budget of PHP38 million.
Manuel Wong, OIC Regional Director of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Cordillera, meanwhile, said TESDA will give scholarships to 300 persons this year, using its 2018 budget.
About 160 people will initially get training, he said, adding 69 Itogon residents started to get Customer Service training last Oct. 10.
The scholars are provided with transportation allowance and meals. Their assessment fee will be shouldered by Forest House, Wong said.
The skills training for metal construction, carpentry, masonry, and electrical installation will start on Oct. 24, after the launching and signing of the Memorandum of Agreement with the municipal government of Itogon, he added.
After completion of the training, those granted skills certifications will be referred to partner business establishments of TESDA, such as local department store chain TiongSan and other companies in Metro Manila, which Wong said are already waiting for them.
He added that as of Oct. 10, a total of 2,900 interested trainees have registered at the agency’s “Blue Desk” in Itogon. He said TESDA will do a shortlist to prioritize the seriously affected families.
The representative of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) added the commission is relaxing the requirements for their scholarship, to accommodate the victims who have difficulty pursuing their studies.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development, meanwhile, continues to profile the victims in Itogon for appropriate assistance.
Freda Gawisan, Baguio-Benguet provincial director of the DTI, said the trade department will set up a Negosyo Center in Itogon for those who want to start a business and aid them with skills on managing a business.
Diskwento Caravan and livelihood forum
Gawisan said a “Diskwento Caravan” and National Food Authority rolling stores offering basic commodities at discounted prices will be held in Itogon on Oct. 24.
This will coincide with the livelihood forum to inform the residents about the programs and assistance of the government.
DTI-Cordillera Regional Director Myrna Pablo said the agencies’ convergence is a consolidation of all programs of government that can be put into action to provide immediate and long-term aid for the people of Itogon.
“This is not a turf program implementation, but a consolidated program of government to help the victims,” Pablo said. **PNA