DOLE to provide employment aid to victims of Cotabato earthquakes

Sofia Tomacruz
The Department of Labor and Employment says cash assistance will also be given to families of overseas Filipino workers in affected areas

AFTERMATH. Residents displaced by a series of strong earthquakes that struck the province of Cotabato stay in temporary shelters. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is set to provide emergency employment assistance to victims and workers affected by recent earthquakes that struck the province of Cotabato and other parts of Mindanao in October, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced on Tuesday, November 5.

DOLE, through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), will also provide cash assistance to families of overseas Filipino workers in affected areas. 

Bello said some P200 million in initial employment aid will be provided to affected workers, while P3,000 will be given to families of overseas Filipino workers affected by the earthquakes.

Bello made the announcement after visiting earthquake-hit areas last Sunday, November 3. During the visit, DOLE officials assessed the damage to workplaces.

Bello said some P500 million in aid may be needed by workers in the informal sector, but that in the meantime, P200 million in available funds may already be used. (READ: ‘Beyond repair’: Dread and anxiety in Kidapawan after strong earthquakes)

The labor secretary also directed DOLE senior officials and regional offices to expedite emergency employment and livelihood assistance.

DOLE urged those needing aid to visit their nearest OWWA or DOLE regional and field offices, or call OWWA hotline 1348.

In October, Cotabato suffered from 3 strong earthquakes in just 16 days: the first with magnitude 6.3 on October 16, the second with magnitude 6.6 on October 29, and the latest on October 31, with magnitude 6.5. The tremors were felt in several other areas in Mindanao.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, a total of 37,716 families or 188,583 persons in the Soccsksargen and Davao regions were affected as of Tuesday. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.