Several displaced workers fall in line at the DSWD Operations Center Station 2 in Boracay to ask for transportation assistance.
DSWD/Released
Displaced workers seek transportation aid as Boracay begins closure
Rosette Adel (philstar.com) - April 26, 2018 - 2:41pm

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED: 4:50 p.m.)— Several displaced workers on Thursday morning waited in line to get transportation assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Boracay as the government implements the island closure.

In its Twitter account, the DSWD reported that there was a long line at the agency’s operation center in Station 2 Boracay on Thursday morning. It added that most of them were workers who were forced to leave the island due to the closure of several establishments.

Since Monday, the DSWD said it has released a total of P502,300 in assistance to the 280 formal and informal workers.  

"The DSWD continues to release transportation assistance to people who want to leave the island at the soonest possible time because they have been displaced," DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel Leyco said.

The agency said it has been reaching out to workers to inform them about the assistance that they could provide following the temporary shutdown of the island.

The Department of Labor and Employment’s surveys showed that there are 36,000 workers in Boracay and 15,000 of them are employed by the public sector.  

Leyco added that several migrant workers who have been working on the island’s hotels and restaurants already left because they were unable to find new means of income. This was determined in hundreds of interviews conducted by DSWD social workers.

Lack of plan for displaced workers?

Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday slammed the Duterte administration for not putting into consideration the welfare of workers which were affected by the closure of the tourist destination.

The senator said the only threat to the island and its residents “is the government that ordered Boracay’s closure without a plan for the 36,000 people who will lose their jobs.”

“It is ironic that the government can express so much love to China’s President Xi Jin Ping but can’t be bothered to provide jobs for the displaced Boracay workers,” he said in a statement.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the DSWD and DOLE are tasked to provide stop-gap measures to address the loss of income of workers.

P2-billion calamity fund for Boracay workers, residents ready

Roque added that the government has set aside P2 billion in calamity fund for affected residents and workers. However, he said it could not be released yet as President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to sign the executive order declaring a state of calamity over the island.

READ: Roque says absence of EO days before Boracay closure ‘no big deal’

The DSWD, meanwhile, assured affected workers that the agency is prepared to implement the Cash-For-Work scheme and the Sustainable Livelihood Program on the island to augment their income. He added that the Assistance for Individuals in Crisis program is always open and available.

The agency also expanded the operations of its team deployed in Boracay and managed by the DSWD Field Office 6 and its Aklan office. 

It added two more operation center satellite offices aside from the single operation center located in Station 1, Boracay. The DSWD said its Field Office Region 6, the office nearest Western Visayas would also deploy more people to help in assistance operations.

BORACAY BORACAY CLOSURE DOLE DSWD
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