ABOUT 450 former scavengers are set to be given livelihood opportunities by the Cagayan de Oro City Government as city officials vowed to assist families affected by the closure of the open dump site in Upper Dagong, Carmen village.
Julius Pamisa, division head of the City Social Welfare and Development's (CSWD) Community and Social Development, said a family member will be given employment through the CSWD's cash for work program.
Pamisa said they will be employed in cleaning the old dumpsite, sweeping the city streets, and helping segregate wastes.
Some will also be hired by private contractors in need of construction workers.
"Ga-limit ang mga work sa kung unsa lang ilang kaya basta lang ang target is maka-income sila ug P200 to 300 per day (We limit the work depending on their capacity, as long as they earn at least P200 to 300 per day)," Pamisa said.
He added that what the city wants is a long-term livelihood opportunity for the scavengers.
"In the meantime, ang atong short-term nga intervention, mag-distribute ug food packs, atong first nga paghatag is three kilograms lang ug mga food packs pero last Thursday, naghatag ta ug 10 kilograms na gyud nga rice (Our short term intervention is to distribute food packs, the first wave of distribution consists of 3 kilograms of rice with food packs, but last Thursday, we distributed 10 kilos of rice and with also food packs)," he said.
Aside from the livelihood programs, about 200 persons are enrolled in the City Improvement Division for skills training.
In the next 30 days, he said, some will undergo training while the others will start working.
"Kung pasagdahan ni nato sila, kita ra gihapon ang mag-problema, so ihurot nalang gyud nato ang tanang resources (If we neglect them, the problem will still be blamed, so we will exhaust all our resources to help them)," he added.
Lorna Medio, 60, one of the scavengers, said although she cannot work anymore with her age, said she will enroll her family members to the livelihood programs.
Medio thanked the City Government for providing them opportunities when they need it most.
"At least, maka-minus sa atong kaguol kung asa mi mangita ani ug panginabuhian (At least it lessens my worry on where to find work)," she said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 22, 2017.