SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has allocated PHP73 million to the programs that aid workers and their families affected by the magnitude 7 earthquake that hit northern Luzon on July 27.

Related stories: In an interview on Wednesday, DOLE Ilocos Region information officer Justin Marbella said the amount is the collective total of disbursed and obligated funds for various programs, such as emergency employment, livelihood intervention, government internship, and financial assistance to displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“Through the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program with PHP11.5-million fund, the DOLE provided 15-day employment to 1,975 workers in the region, who are now tapped for post-earthquake cleaning and light repairs. They are also rendering labor in the cleaning of classrooms in time with Brigada Eskwela. Some 1,425 TUPAD workers are from Ilocos Sur, 450 from Ilocos Norte, and 100 from La Union,” he said.

Aside from the earthquake response activities, the agency also continues to implement its regular programs that aim to cushion the impact of inflation on low-income families.

In a statement, DOLE Ilocos regional director lawyer Evelyn Ramos said various programs and projects are now rolled out to address the concerns of workers, as well as employers, which arose due to the natural calamity two weeks ago.

“The DOLE Ilocos regional office is set to award livelihood starter kits to 157 skills trainees through a partnership with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The starter kits worth PHP30,000 under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program aim to launch self-employment among TESDA NC II training graduates with their newly-acquired skills in carpentry, masonry, or electrical installation,” she said.

Various livelihood projects are also awarded to beneficiaries from Aguilar, Dagupan City, Calasiao, and Sta. Barbara in Pangasinan with a total disbursement of PHP1.8 million.

“The livelihood projects benefited farmers, persons with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer members, and displaced transport workers,” she added.

The DOLE also resumed the distribution of financial assistance to displaced OFWs through the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) wherein some 4,752 OFWs are set to receive their aid of PHP10,000 each, with the total amount of PHP47.5 million ready for disbursement. (PNA)