Job, livelihood fair set for NHA beneficiaries

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday, April 19, announced that it will hold a special job fair for settlers in housing projects of the National Housing Authority (NHA).

The special fair will be conducted in select NHA sites in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Southern Tagalog from May 9 to 11. This includes a fair in the town of Pandi in Bulacan where thousands of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) members occupied idle housing units.

According to Director Dominique Rubia Tutay of the Bureau of Local Employment, most of the jobs are low-skilled work that are nearer to the beneficiaries' residences, but there will still be employers offering jobs outside their area. Livelihood training will also be provided.

To ensure that the opportunities to be offered to the resettled families match their interests and skills, Tutay said they will convene the participants before the event to consult with them.

Access to jobs is a concern of families resettled in NHA houses because most projects are built in off-city places like in Bulacan, where there are 36 housing sites that are located two to 3 hours away from Metro Manila. 

In effect, the lack of livelihood opportunities makes it hard for them to settle their monthly dues with the NHA, which are around P200 to P600 per month, depending on the location. (READ: Why P600-a-month housing is still a burden to the poor

Vice President Leni Robredo, former chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, previously said that resettled families received training for small-scale businesses but these did not prosper since they were too far from market centers.

Asked about this, Tutay said DOLE will monitor trainees for 3 years to ensure that their businesses will develop. They are also offering additional capital in case the trainees want to expand their ventures.

She added that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is eyeing a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to help monitor the trainees.

"What we want is for the DTI to monitor them once DOLE is done with the intervention. It's like transitioning them from informal to formal," said Tutay in a mix of English and Filipino.

Aside from the special fair, DOLE has organized 52 job fairs in celebration of the 155th Labor Day on May 1. – 

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.