349 displaced sugar workers get more P3.4-M Dole-AMP aid

CITY OF TARLAC -- Some 349 displaced sugar workers can now start anew thanks to a P3,490,000 livelihood assistance they recently received from the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).

Dole Regional Director Ana Dione reported to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz that the affected workers are retrenched employees of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT).

“Soon as we received reports from the CAT that it will be downsizing more than 300 of its workers due to a change in management, I immediately instructed the Dole Tarlac Field Office to activate its Quick Response Team (QRT) to provide the necessary assistance to these affected workers,” Dione said.

Dione also noted that the company offered voluntary retirement pay program packages for its long-time workers.

In addition, separation pay packages computed at one month and a half per year of service, were offered to other affected workers.

“Aside from the company’s good retirement and separation pay packages, the Dole Tarlac Field Office QRT was tasked to fast-track the provision of livelihood assistance to the affected workers to ensure that they would be reintegrated by engaging them in entrepreneurship through its livelihood program,” Dione said.

The livelihood assistance was sourced from the Dole Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) through its Dole Adjustment Measurements Program (Dole AMP).

Prior to the livelihood provision, Dole Tarlac Field Office head Efren Reyes directed his staff to coordinate with CAT management in profiling the affected workers and their livelihood needs.

"We want to ensure that these workers would be given the right livelihood intervention by knowing straight from themselves on what type of small businesses they wish to pursue. We also want to give them adequate training so that they could transform their livelihood projects into formidable businesses," Reyes said.

The affected workers received their livelihood assistance in form of Dole Kabuhayan Starter KITS in sets of tranches from the period of November 2015 to April 2016.

First, some 163 displaced workers from three recognized CAT associations received around 800 cavans of rice for their rice trading start-up businesses.

Meanwhile, some 76 displaced workers received start-up businesses in form of Piso Net (internet rental), welding, poultry supply, motorcycle parts and accessories, air-condition repair, and frozen foods, among others.

Last but not least, some 110 displaced workers were recipients of small carry-around sari-sari store start-up businesses.

The Dole's livelihood assistance could not have come at a better time and the workers were very grateful for the opportunity of a fresh start.

CAT’s former Head Nurse Hermilina Samonte, who opted for voluntary retirement, expressed her warmest thanks to the DOLE for her rice-trading starter kit.

"Kami po ay taos-pusong nagpapasalamat sa Dole sa ipinagkaloob nilang tulong pangkabuhayan aming mga manggagawa ng CAT na kasama sa retrenchment. Kahit papaano, kami po ay makapagsisimula na muli sa maliit na negosyo. Sana, marami pang matulungan ng Dole na nais magkaroon ng sariling negosyo. Umasa po kayo na ito ay aming pagyayamanin," Samonte said.

At present, Samonte's rice-trading business is already on a good start thanks to her customers, some of who are current and former CAT employees.

All livelihood beneficiaries have undergone an Entrepreneurship Development Training (EDT) to ensure the proper management of their start-up businesses.

The Dole AMP aims to provide assistance to workers by helping them cope up with unprecedented social and economic disruptions. (Jerry Borja/Dole-3 LCO)

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