12,500 jobs await typhoon victims; Aquino to visit Bohol

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President Benigno Aquino lll. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang declared Tuesday that relief operations in Leyte and other provinces battered by Supertyphoon Yolanda had “stabilized” and announced that the Department of Labor was offering at least 12,500 jobs to typhoon victims aimed at hastening reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Palace media relations officer Rey Marfil also announced that President Benigno Aquino III is scheduled to visit Bohol on Thursday to check on rehabilitation efforts there, more than a month after Bohol, Cebu and neighboring provinces were rocked by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

The President has visited Bohol twice since the earthquake, which caused extensive damage there.

The President’s trip to Bohol comes after Malacañang declared that relief operations in Leyte and neighboring areas had “stabilized,” a situation that would allow the government to focus on “recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.”

Up to 12,500 jobs would be up for grabs for typhoon victims as part of the “emergency employment program” covering “clearing and cleaning activities” by the Department of Labor and Employment.

“As the people of Leyte and Samar begin to resettle and rebuild their homes, they are now being mobilized to participate in the reconstruction efforts under the cash-for-work or food-for-work programs,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said Tuesday.

Mr. Aquino first visited Bohol on Oct. 16 soon after the earthquake, which also hit Cebu. But he flew back to Manila on the same day because of his scheduled visit to South Korea the following day.

Amid criticism for proceeding with the two-day state visit despite the calamity back home, the President returned to Bohol on Oct. 23 and spent the night in a tent. Mr. Aquino did so to show his “solidarity” with earthquake victims, the Palace announced then.

“Like a good father, the President reminded the residents of Bohol that the sooner they return home, the sooner their lives will return to [normal],” Coloma said.

As part of the rehabilitation efforts for typhoon victims, the Department of Public Works and Highways began constructing bunkhouses in Tacloban, Palo and Ormoc in Leyte, and Basey and Marabut in Samar last weekend.

Coloma said construction was also under way in Guiuan, Hernani and Borongan in Eastern Samar as of Monday.

“At least 2,400 families will be resettled in this first phase,” he said.

“In coordination with the local governments, DPWH has begun site preparation in identified resettlement areas to facilitate transfer to the bunkhouses to be completed.”

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