DOLE raises aid to P200-M for quake-hit workers in Mindanao

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday said it has raised to P200-million its initial employment assistance for workers who were hit by recent earthquakes in Mindanao.

Last month, three powerful temblors hit parts of Mindanao, killing more than 20 people and damaging thousands of infrastructures.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the livelihood assistance for workers in the informal sector is estimated to reach P500 million.

“We may need more than P500 million to cover all those needing assistance and emergency employment in the affected areas.”

In the meantime, he said DOLE can use up over P200 million of its available assistance fund.

He added that he has directed labor offices to expedite emergency employment for workers displaced by earthquakes.

“Last Sunday, I was in Davao City and met with our regional directors and (Occupational Safety and Health Center) Director Noel Binag, and we discussed the extent of the damage of the earthquake with other agencies,” Bello said.

DOLE earlier sent quick response teams to areas in Mindanao severely hit by the 6.5 magnitude earthquake to assess the situation, and provide assistance to the affected workers.

The labor chief further stated he has requested the board of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to approve the release of cash assistance to families of overseas Filipino workers, who are active OWWA members, in affected areas.

“The OWWA board has decided to give P3,000 per family of OFW in the areas hit by the earthquake, so, for those who have OFW relatives, please tell them that they are entitled to a financial assistance from OWWA,” he said.

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