The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has taken proactive measures to address the potential massive displacement of workers with the closure and suspension of 23 mining firms by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III met with regional officials to map out action plans and prepare assistance packages for thousands of mine workers expected to be unemployed following the DENR decision.

“These mining firms employ hundreds and thousands of workers. DOLE will provide assistance to those who will be displaced,” Bello said.

In CARAGA region, the DOLE technical staff has already been deployed to the 14 mining companies in the area affected by the order to do assessment on the ground. The affected mining firms would submit transition/action plans and proposals to DOLE provincial offices.

CARAGA Regional Director Evelyn R. Ramos said there is need to be prepared for the effect of the closure and suspension of operations of the mining areas, as it would also impact on other businesses and employment in the region.

She said the regional office is checking the status of the mining operations and determining the exact number of workers to be affected and their profiles for appropriate DOLE intervention.

Ramos said the transition plan and other data would still be useful if and when the closure or suspension order does not take effect since the mining sector is faced with the off- season dilemma where workers are forced to go on leave and look for alternative sources of income.

###Annie Tangpos/Marietta Ravina/Paul Ang

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