Following the instruction of President Benigno S. Aquino III to all Cabinet members to monitor Typhoon ‘Lando’ and to be ready to provide their services to areas forecast to be affected, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has ordered yesterday the DOLE regional directors in the NCR, CAR, and Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A and 5  to be on stand-by and to be ready with emergency preparations, including the activation of their quick response team (QRTs) once the typhoon exits from the Philippine area of responsibility.

According to PAGASA, tropical storm ‘Lando’ is expected to make landfall in the northeastern and southeastern portion of Luzon early Sunday morning, and with this forecast, the typhoon will likely affect the NCR, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, and 5.

“I had instructed Regional Directors Alex V. Avila of the NCR; Grace Y. Ursua of the Ilocos Region; Atty. Sixto T. Rodriguez of Cagayan Valley; John Henry Jalbuena of Cordillera Administrative Region; Anna C. Dione of Central Luzon; Ma. Zenaida A. Angara-Campita of Southern Tagalog; and Nathaniel V. Lacambra of the Bicol Region to institute all the necessary pre- and post-calamity assistance to workers and their families,” Baldoz said.

Baldoz also directed them to be ready to profile and assess workers who might be displaced, as well as their companies, and to come up with proposed interventions.

“You have to monitor and assess all DOLE-assisted projects for the purpose of classifying those which would need restoration or enhancement intervention,” she said.

“You should be also ready to implement our emergency employment for displaced workers under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP),” she added.

“Coordinate your action with your respective regional disaster risk reduction and management councils (RDRRMCs) of which you are members. Also work closely with local government units, taking cue from the NDRRMC, including the PAGASA, so that our responses will be properly guided by these disaster agencies’ precautionary measures and weather bulletins,” she added.

Baldoz said the DOLE regional offices have their respective Quick Response Teams (QRTs) and these should be promptly activated. Members of the QRTs immediately assess and evaluate the extent of damage to firms and establishments once a calamity has passed, and deliver DOLE’s package of assistance to displaced workers.

The QRTs main responsibility is to deliver a package of assistance which consists of the following: (1) profiling of displaced workers; (2) employment guidance and counselling; (3) facilitation of payment of separation pay; (4) employment matching and referral for wage employment (using available facilities, such as the PhilJobnet and jobs fair); (5) information on and certification for SSS loan availment; (6) referral to other DOLE programs; and (7) referral of qualified displaced workers to other government and non-government organizations for technical and financial assistance for livelihood or self-employment.

Baldoz said the DOLE Call Center, supervised by the Labor Communications Office, has been on a 24/7 alert mode. It can be accessed at 527-8000.

As in the past, the workers who will be displaced from the closures of firms and establishments in the regions that will be affected by the typhoon will qualify for the package of assistance.

The DOLE has several programs offered to calamity victims under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program, or DILEEP, which can be made available to worker-victims, including the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD), where workers in the affected areas are engaged in community and rural rehabilitation work, specifically in de-clogging, clearing, and cleaning of communities, schools, and evacuation centers.

There is also the Nego-Kart or Negosyo sa Kariton and Kabuhayan Starter Kits, the DOLE’s livelihood enhancement program consisting of a package of services that will enable the target beneficiaries to quickly start livelihood undertaking and become self-employed to recover lost incomes.

Baldoz’s directives were issued as ‘Lando,’ with maximum sustained winds of 130 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 160 kph. as of 5:00 PM on 16 October, threatens to sustain its strength as it moves closer to Isabela-Aurora area.

According to the weather bureau, ‘Lando’ is expected also to bring in from heavy to intense rainfall within the 600 km diameter of the typhoon.  PAGASA, in its Severe Weather Bulletin, said ‘Lando’ will bring occasional rains starting tomorrow, and gusty winds will be experienced over provinces under Public Storm Warning Signal No. 1 (Cagayan, Abra, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Benguet, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Bataan, Rizal, Laguna, rest of Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, including Metro Manila),while those under Public Storm Warming Signal No. 2 (Aurora, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Northern Quezon,  Polillo Island) will have stormy weather.

END/GSR

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