Monday, December 2, 2013

ILO: Invest in 100,000 people and change half a million lives

MANILA (ILO) – As reconstruction efforts gather pace after Super Typhoon Haiyan, rebuilding livelihoods through decent jobs in the service industry is a priority – alongside farming and fishing – according to the first sectoral needs assessment published by the UN.

 Providing sustainable and decent work can also speed up the recovery process and lead to a “multiplier effect” said Simon Hills, ILO Disaster Response and Livelihoods Development Officer. “Ensuring jobs for 100,000 men and women that include minimum wages, sound occupational safety, skills development and social protection can change the lives of 500,000 people within 12 months, and beyond,” he said. “One wage-earner can support a family of five. These five people will be able to pay for services in their local area; food, medicine, water, transportation. So, the money that goes to this family through this one job will then circulate with a multiplier effect across the local economy”. The Philippine government, with the support of the ILO, has already set up Emergency Employment Programmes in Leyte and Samar, two of the worst hit areas. Around 17,000 people have registered and are ready to work, clearing roads, rehabilitating schools, cleaning hospitals and public infrastructure. Three other programmes are about to start, in Northern Cebu, Negros Occidental and Coron (Palawan). Workers in the Emergency Employment Programme are equipped with personal protective gear (hats, boots, gloves, long sleeved shirts and masks). They are employed for a minimum of 15 days and receive the wages and social security benefits set by national law.

”It is critical to make sure that people have money and support immediately” said Hills. “However, short-term employment alone is not enough. We also need to provide people with opportunities to develop skills that will enable them to have more stable and reliable sources of income and social protection, inclusive of health insurance”. 

”There have been great losses in farms and fisheries and the ILO is working closely with the FAO [UN Food and Agriculture Organization] on these. But we have to remember that half the people who lost their livelihoods were in the services sector, working in transport, sari-sari stores, plumbing, cooking, cleaning or security. 2.4 million were already working in vulnerable forms of employment before the typhoon. Many of these families run the risk of being thrust back into poverty.” said Simon Hills. Key facts & figures - 5.6 million workers lost their livelihoods, temporarily or permanently, because of Typhoon Haiyan.
- 2.4 million of these were already in vulnerable employment before the typhoon struck the Philippines.
- 50 per cent were working in the service industry.
- Ensuring a decent job for one person can support an entire family.
- Only 5 per cent of the livelihoods budget in the U.N. Flash Appeal has been funded so far.

 For further information please contact:
 Minette Rimando ILO Country Office for the Philippines (Manila)
 +63 2 580 9905 or 580 9900 / +63 917 5353162

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