Saturday, November 30, 2013

ILO:::Over half of workers affected by Yolanda in services sector

Some 2.8 million of the 5.6 million workers affected by typhoon Yolanda are employed in the service sector, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said in a press release yesterday.

The ILO said that half of the workers who either temporarily or permanently lost their livelihoods were working in the service sector. Over one third or 1.8 million were in agriculture, and around 15% or roughly 840,000, in the industry sector.

“Service sector includes people working in shops, public markets, restaurants, vendors, tricycle and jeepney drivers, mechanics, clerks, [and] teachers, who, like farmers and fisherfolk have seen their source of income wiped away,” ILO Philippine Office Director Lawrence Jeff Johnson said in the press release.

“As the reconstruction efforts gather pace, the number one priority is to ensure that these workers have access to decent work, which include at least minimum wage, social protection and safe working conditions,” Mr. Johnson said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are rolling out emergency employment programs to immediately respond to the reconstruction and livelihoods needs.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” B. Coloma Jr. said in a press briefing on Tuesday that the DoLE’s emergency program involves up to 12,500 jobs in clearing and cleaning activities.

The ILO said in the press release that it is working closely with the DoLE and with local governments, business and workers’ organizations, and international partners.

“The offer assistance from the ILO for cash-for-work programs is in the amount of $300,000,” Mr. Coloma said.

“These programs comply with Philippine regulation and international labor standards, ensuring that people are not exploited while they help to rebuild their communities and local economies,” Mr. Johnson explained.

Workers under the emergency employment programs, which began a week ago, receive the minimum wage prevailing in the area and are employed for a minimum of 15 days. They also have access to social protection benefits.

“This is a very first step to jump start the economy and quickly put the affected communities back in the driver’s seat in rebuilding their lives. Ensuring minimum wage and social protection will help stimulate economic growth and speed the recovery process,” Mr. Johnson said. -- M.L.V. Angeles

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