DOLE has funds to help 4,000 displaced by Boracay closure

ANOTHER 4,000 displaced workers from Boracay Island could still avail themselves of the financial assistance program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

In a news conference on Wednesday, DOLE  Assistant Secretary Benjo M. Benavidez said they still have enough funds to accommodate more workers in their Boracay Emergency Employment Program (BEEP).

“Our budget is good for 17,735. But as we speak, only 13,000 [beneficiaries] plus have availed of it. We are still looking for the 4,000 plus workers,” Benavidez said.

Labor Undersecretary Joel B. Maglunsod said interested qualified workers could still go the nearest DOLE regional office in their area to apply for the BEEP.

“Our profiling [of the displaced workers in Boracay] is still ongoing so we could extend the interventions of the Department of Labor and Employment,” Maglunsod said.

Qualified beneficiaries of the BEEP will be entitled to a financial support worth 50 percent of the prevailing daily minimum wage in Western Visayas equivalent to P4,205.50 per month. It will be given for a duration of six months.

“For those who will avail  themselves of the program] now, will give them the differential starting May up to August or September,” Benavidez explained.

The DOLE launched BEEP in May to help workers who were affected with temporary closure of Boracay Island on April 26. It allocated P448 million for the said program.

President Duterte ordered the temporary closure of the island-resort for its rehabilitation. It is scheduled to reopen to the public on October 26, 2018.


MEANWHILE, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)-Aklan announced the institutionalization of an antidrug abuse initiative it supported and calls “Bagong Buhay [new life or Baghay].”

PCCI-Aklan President Ramel Buncalan said the two-year-old Baghay lures volunteers and supporters from all over the province, hoping to give drug dependents a chance. The Baghay was created as a local version of Tokhang of President Duterte.

The Baghay was institutionalized after it earned certification from the Securities and Exchange Commission. A Sangguniang Panlalawigan resolution also adds up to the institutionalization of the group, according to Buncalan.

“Aside from the business community, the organizations now involved tourism stakeholders, academe, the media, youth and the Provincial Prosecutors Office,” said Buncalan, who also currently heads the Baghay multi-sectoral council.

The Baghay, according to Buncalan, was able to raise P162,000 from various donors. He added about P30,530 was used for the community-based rehabilitation program of Persons Who Used Drugs, or PWDs.

The institutionalization of Baghay and the call for workers to avail themselves of financial assistance came at a time when the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) announced the rollout of its long-term solution for Boracay Island.

In a statement on August 23, the Tieza said it is on track with its commitment for the period of closure to establish a temporary discharge pipe at the Bulabog Beach to address the controversial drainage pipes. “With two months to go until Boracay Island opens on October 26, Tieza is fully committed to complete not only the short-term interventions but more so the long-term engineering solutions to the problems that beset Boracay,” Tieza COO Pocholo D. Paragas was quoted in the statement as saying.

Tieza is the infrastructure arm of the Department of Tourism.

“Boracay’s problems did not happen overnight, but we are making sure to fast track the project implementation pursuant to the directive of the President,” Paragas added.

With Jun N. Aguirre



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