Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday sent four teams of labor officials and employees led by Undersecretary Rebecca Chato to help the DOLE Regional Office No. 8 in Tacloban City get back into operation, after Typhoon Yolanda practically reduced the regional office into waste, and to assess how the DOLE can assist workers displaced by the tragic calamity.

Undersecretary Chato, who is in Cebu for an official function, will head a team coming from the Regional Office No. 7 in Cebu City while DOLE Caraga Regional Director Johnson Canete will lead a team who will today cross from Surigao City in Northern Mindanao to Tacloban via ferry boat. Another team, headed by DOLE Regional Office No. 5 Director Nathaniel Lacambra will leave this afternoon for Tacloban via Matnog, Sorsogon where they will cross via roll-on-roll-off ship to Allen in Western Samar and motor down to Tacloban. Also tomorrow at the latest, a team of able-bodied DOLE employees–engineers, carpenters, electricians, and utility workers–from the DOLE central office and the DOLE National Capital Region will go to Tacloban to assist. TESDA, PRC and OWWA are also sending teams for assignments of personnel in their respective operation.

“Their orders are to bring food, water, clothing, medicines, and other basic necessities for our officials and employees in the regional offices, including those of attached agencies who were rendered homeless and “office-less”, said Baldoz during an emergency meeting at the DOLE in Intramuros.

Earlier at the DOLE flag-raising ceremony held with the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda looming as backdrop, Secretary Baldoz announced to the relief of DOLE employees that all DOLE officials and employees in the region are safe and accounted for.

Director Exequiel R.Sarcauga of Region 8 said “Pangalawang buhay po sa aming lahat, they are safe and in high spirits, thank God, but their houses have been destroyed and our regional office needs reconstruction. We have a moral obligation to get our people in the region get back to their feet. They have no food, no water. We have to help them recover so they can continue do their work and provide service to our clients,” said Baldoz.

Baldoz had tasked Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III to organize the relief effort, even as she appealed to all DOLE officials and employees to pitch in according to their means.

She said that an estimated P500,000 in donations of DOLE officials and employees will be used to provide relief to all DOLE regional staff. The Federated Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCI) has donated between P75,000 to P100,000 in goods for the DOLE relief operation.

Baldoz expressed sadness and sympathy to the victims of the typhoon, and said the DOLE will immediately plan an emergency employment program and expect that P50M funds could still be available for the rehabilitation purpose.

Pending reports from the regions on the number of workers and establishments affected by the calamity, she directed the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) to come up with the data based on its own records so that planning the intervention can already proceed.

She also instructed the Human Resource Development Service (HRDS) to coordinate with other national government agencies, specifically the Department of Social Welfare and Development, so the department can send in volunteers in batches to the National Relief Coordination Center in Pasay City to help in packing relief goods for the typhoon victims. Some 15 DOLE personnel already assisted in the repacking of goods last Saturday.

END

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