Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III set off yesterday an emergency employment program in Northern Luzon, the region hit hardest by super typhoon Lawin.

About 800 workers have initially benefited from the program which provides 10 days of work for clearing operations, cleaning of roads, restoration of damaged structures in the community, among others.

“Due to the extent of damage in the region, particularly in Isabela and Cagayan, the emergency employment may extend up to 30 days,” Bello said.

The emergency employment program beneficiaries will be provided with Group Personal Accident Insurance under the Government Service Insurance System as part of social protection. They will also be provided with Personal Protective Equipment such as gloves, long-sleeve shirts, rubber boots and buri hats to ensure safety at work.

Meanwhile, Bello urged the Social Security System to facilitate early release of emergency and calamity assistance to affected private sector workers in the typhoon-ravaged areas of Northern Luzon to help them quickly recover from the devastation wrought by Lawin.

In addition, Bello requested the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund) to open a special assistance window to enable workers and their families rebuild their homes, even as he directed the regional offices of the Department of Labor and Employment in the north to help in facilitating SSS and Pag-Ibig assistance to affected workers.

The super typhoon left massive destruction to crops, public infrastructures and rendered homeless thousands of residents as the super typhoon battered the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao, and Ilocos Norte.

“I have instructed our offices in regions 1 and 2 to help in facilitating requests for assistance from affected workers and their families,” Bello said.

Bello said he is making personal representation with the SSS and Pag-Ibig to open “special assistance windows“ for workers in the northern Luzon areas.

“We are also looking at other possible means we can be of help to the families of our OFWs in the region,” he added. — ###


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