THE Sipalay City Government, through its Tourism Development and Promotion Office and Social Welfare and Development Office, has provided a livelihood training to tourism workers displaced and affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
The two-day training held at the Central Philippine State University Sipalay Campus recently is under the local government's Project Covaide: Coco-based Ventures as Alternative Income for Displaced Employees.
Funded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), it was attended by 32 recipient-workers from two tourism barangays in the southern Negros Occidental locality.
Fifteen are from Barangay Nauhang and the 17 other participants are from Barangay 4.
Jerick Lacson, city tourism officer, said the alternative livelihood project targets to provide income to their displaced tourism employees and produce virgin coconut oil, coco-based soaps and coco-based sanitizers as supply for the needs of the local government and establishments.
Lacson said they prioritized women, mothers, and casual or on-call employees affected by the pandemic.
They were given workshops on virgin coconut oil (VCO) making, VCO-based soap making, VCO-based hand sanitizers making, production standards and work management planning, and finalization of production facility setup, among others.
"This is part of Sipalay City Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan under the tourism and business part," he said, adding that one of the targets is to provide assistance to displaced and affected tourism employees through sustainable livelihood programs.
The local government has recognized that tourism is one of the affected industries in the country.
Sipalay City, being a tourism destination, has been greatly affected by the pandemic. Various travel restrictions have affected income and employment.
Its tourism office's records showed that there are about 622 affected tourism employees in the city.
Of them, 330 are accommodation establishment employees, 185 transport employees including that of hoping boats and tourist vans, 44 food park workers, 30 dive shops personnel, 25 tricycle guides and eight tour and travel agency employees.
The tourism official said the intervention is aligned with the government's push to support local products.
Coconut is one of the most abundant agriculture products in Sipalay City with 1,862-hectare land dedicated to coconut farming.
Lacson said this is also a way to support local coconut farmers and help slowly stimulate the local economy.
"We target to sell the products to local businesses especially tourism establishments and local government unit. It can also be sold as souvenir items in the future," he added.