Aurelio Fernandez and Pablito Jayme were among the farmers who were severely affected by the dry spell brought by the El Niño phenomenon.
“Hirap kami dahil tagtuyot. Yung kinikita namin sa pag-ani hindi sapat para sa aming pamilya,” said Fernandez of Barangay Valbuena, Pinili, Ilocos Norte.
Jayme, on the other hand, admits that because of the El Niño phenomenon, he and his family have to find other means of earning income to make ends meet. “Bukod sa pagsaka, pinasukan ko rin ang iba ibang trabaho kasi kaunti lang ang kinikita dahil sa tagtuyot,” explained Jayme.
Farmers throughout the country have been experiencing losses from their farming activities due to the recurrent El Niño phenomenon because of the dry spell it brings to many provinces resulting in significant reduction in farming productivity and revenue.
But, with the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP), these farmers found alternative means of earning income to support their families.
Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said that more than P1 Billion worth of livelihood assistance and emergency employment projects were provided to drought-affected farmers, including Jayme and Fernandez.
The two farmers were among the 408,692 workers who have benefitted from the DILEEP livelihood and emergency employment programs in 2016.
Of the said number of beneficiaries, 325,729 were beneficiaries of the livelihood assistance program; 92,010 were beneficiaries of the emergency employment program; and 3,662 were beneficiaries of Adjustment Measures Program.
Aside from these workers, there were also 312,460 worker-beneficiaries from the Social Amelioration Program, a production scheme instituted in the sugar industry.
The DOLE also facilitated the social security enrolment of 105,249 workers from the informal sector.
Bello said that with the provision of DILEEP to the affected farmers, they need not rely solely on farming for income because they can derive it from livestock production and selling, dairying, and bull services.
“Hindi po pala kailangang maging tigang din ang bulsa pag tigang ang lupa,” said Fernandez after receiving livelihood assistance from Labor and Employment Secretary Bello.
Jayme, on the other hand, said that the income he derived from DOLE’s emergency employment program, was a huge help to sustain the needs of his family during the long dry spell brought by El Niño in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat.
“Malaking tulong ang trabaho na ibinigay ng DOLE dahil nasusustentuhan ang pangangailangan ng pamilya ko habang wala pang produkto ang aming sakahan,” Jayme said.
DILEEP is the Department’s contribution to the government agenda of inclusive growth through massive job generation and poverty reduction. It seeks to contribute to poverty reduction and reduce vulnerability to risks of the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized workers, either through: (1) transitional emergency employment; and (2) promotion of entrepreneurship and community enterprises. It has two component programs, namely: (1) Livelihood, or the Kabuhayan Program; and (2) Emergency Employment Program (EEP), or the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD).
“Among the beneficiaries of DILEEP are the workers in the informal sector, particularly the self-employed and unpaid family workers, who constitute workers in vulnerable employment. Vulnerable employment is a serious dimension of the Philippine labor market,” said Bello.
DILEEP beneficiaries ranges from self-employed who are unable to earn sufficient income; marginalized and landless farmers; unpaid family workers; parents of child laborers; low wage and seasonal workers; and displaced workers or workers to be displaced as a result of natural and man-made disasters.