Angara, Ejercito want livelihood for workers displaced by Boracay closure
Two senators on Thursday urged government to ensure alternative livelihood programs and employment assistance to thousands of workers who will be displaced with the closure of Boracay from tourism for six months effective April 26.
Senator Sonny Angara said thousands of families residing and doing business in the famous tourist destination would be left with no source of income for six months.
“Dapat ay aktibo ang local government unit at ang DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) sa pagbibigay ng tulong sa mga maaapektuhang manggagawa,” said Angara, vice chairman of the Senate labor committee.
Citing data from the Boracay Foundation, Angara said some 19,000 people work in the formal sector of Boracay, including hotels, resorts, restaurants, dive shops, souvenir shops, tour activity centers, and transport providers; while another 17,000 work in the informal sector as massage therapists, tattoo artists, and vendors by the beach.
The lawmaker stressed that DOLE’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or Tupad Program should prioritize the affected Boracay workers.
The Tupad program, he said, provides emergency employment and free skills training for workers who were laid off or terminated as a result of closure of an establishment and for self-employed individuals who have lost their livelihood.
Angara, vice chairman of the Senate finance committee, pointed out that the Tupad program has P2.3 billion funding this year that can cover approximately 200,000 displaced workers.
The senator also called on stakeholders to take advantage of the Green Jobs Law that incentivizes the creation of jobs that contribute substantially to the preservation and restoration of the environment and natural resources.
Under Republic Act 10771 green jobs refer to jobs that help “protect ecosystems and biodiversity, and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution.”
“Tiyak na ang rehabilitasyon ng Boracay ay magiging daan upang mas lumobo ang turismo sa bansa na siyang na lilikha ng dagdag trabaho at magpapalago pa sa ekonomiya ng bansa,” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved during Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, a proposal by an inter-agency committee for the total closure of Boracay for six months to give way for its rehabilitation.
The President had earlier threatened to close the popular resort island in the wake of garbage and sewage problems which threatened the health of tourists.
Meanwhile, Senator JV Ejercito reiterated his proposal to have the Boracay closure during the island’s “off season” in June instead so as not to disrupt earlier bookings and reservations made by tourists.
“There has to be alternative livelihood for those who will be temporarily displaced as a result of the temporary closure for 6 months,” Ejercito added.
Ejercito added that establishments in the island who have violated rules should be closed immediately while those which have been compliant should be allowed to operate until the six month closure order takes effect. /muf
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