Monday, December 2, 2013

ILO sees long road to recovery for Tacloban

MANILA, Philippines - The International Labor Organization (ILO) sees slow recovery for the typhoon-devastated city of Tacloban in Leyte, but it said residents still have a better life ahead of them.
Lawrence Jeff Johnson, ILO country officer for the Philippines, said the agency is working closely with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to build better lives for typhoon victims.

“The path from relief to recovery is long and requires massive resources, so we need to come together to put the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda on a path that leads to a better life,” Johnson said.
He said with support from the government and the ILO, victims of Typhoon Sendong in Mindanao were able to rebuild their lives two years after the disaster.
When Sendong hit the village of Kabacsanan in Iligan in 2011, the dirt road was washed away cutting off people’s access to the market and depriving farmers of livelihood.
But now, Johnson said, an ILO project is building a culvert to divert water from the road. Workers in the project have social security, health insurance, and wear protective clothing.
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“In addition, workers learn basic design and construction skills that will serve them well in the future. This is an example of how to build back better lives, infrastructure and people,” Johnson  said.
The ILO official said the agency and the DOLE would be implementing the same programs for the people of Tacloban.
Before Yolanda struck, he said, the people of Tacloban were trying to get out of poverty.
 “Without social security nets, without decent work, many of these families run the risk of being thrust back into poverty and it could take generations to get out of it.”
Despite the typhoon, Johnson expressed confidence that the people of Tacloban would still manage to pick up the pieces.
 “At this time, you can already see markets recovering. Progress is slow, but they are recovering. I believe the Filipino spirit is here. Tacloban and other affected areas will be rebuilt and livelihoods will be regained,” he said.
To help the poor, the DOLE and the ILO are putting livelihood at the center of recovery efforts.
 “If we don’t, then vulnerable people are doomed to experience this misery over and over again,” Johnson said, adding the ILO is providing skills training to help the typhoon victims set up their own enterprises and other sources of livelihood.  

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