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ILO: 100,000 jobs available for Yolanda victims

MANILA, Philippines - The International Labor Organization (ILO) hopes to change the lives of half a million Yolanda victims within a year with the availability of 100,000 decent jobs in areas devastated by the typhoon.

Simon Hills, ILO disaster response and livelihood development officer, yesterday stressed the need to provide employment that would help rebuild the lives of typhoon victims.

Hills said decent work can speed up the recovery process and lead to “multiplier effect.”

“Ensuring jobs for 100,000 men and women that include minimum wages, sound occupational safety, skills development and social protection can change the lives of 500,000 people within 12 months and beyond,” he said.

Hills explained that one wage earner can support a family of five, who in turn will be able to pay for food, medicine, water and transportation.

“So, the money that goes to this family through this one job will then circulate with a multiplier effect across the local economy,” he added.

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According to Hills, it is critical to ensure that people from disaster areas have money and immediate support through emergency employment.

With the support from ILO, Hills said the Philippine government has set up emergency employment programs in Leyte and Samar.

To date, he said about 17,000 people have registered and are ready to clear roads, rehabilitate schools, clean hospitals and public infrastructures in typhoon-hit areas.

The ILO will start three other employment programs in Northern Cebu, Negros Occidental and Coron in Palawan.

Workers in the emergency employment program are employed for a minimum of 15 days and receive salaries and social security benefits set by the law.

Hills said that short-term employment alone is not enough, thus the ILO and the Philippine government are working closely to provide typhoon victims with opportunities to develop skills that will enable them to have stable sources of income and social protection, inclusive of health insurance.

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said it would take time for the business industry in typhoon-affected areas to bounce back.

“Our assessment showed no immediate signs of jobs to return soon,” TUCP executive vice president Gerard Seno said.

Seno said several worksites in Cebu, Leyte and other areas in Eastern Visayas have stopped operations.

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