ZAMBOANGA CITY — At the start of the Closed Fishing Season in December, hundreds of fishing and canning industry workers in Zamboanga Peninsula are temporarily displaced until resumption of work in February the following year.

The closed fishing season policy was imposed on sardines in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Philippines for December 1 to March 1, to allow for a more productive spawning season and address the declining fish catch. This, in turn, temporarily affects the operation of the fishing and canning companies in the region.

The Department of Labor and Employment IX (DOLE 9) in partnership with the Office of the 1st District of Zamboanga City Representative, Congressman Ceasar “Jawo” L. Jimenez provided emergency employment to 100 displaced workers from various fishing and canning companies.

DOLE 9 Regional Director Atty. Roy L. Buenafe shared that the assistance is under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay Sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) Program. TUPAD is a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum period of 10 days, but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days, depending on the nature of work to be performed.

The TUPAD Beneficiaries will be working for 15 days at the Project HOPE (Helping Others Prosper Economically) Demo Farm earning a daily minimum wage of 316 pesos.

To educate the beneficiaries about the program and occupational safety and health protocol, DOLE 9 conducted an orientation on December 1, 2020 at the Project HOPE Demo Farm in Zamboanga ECOZONE.

Dir. Buenafe discussed his hopes of maximizing the manpower resources to make the Project HOPE Demo Farm sustainable not just during the annual Closed Fishing Season but all year round.

The 100 TUPAD Beneficiaries were from Big Smile Shaan Fishing Corp., Z.C. Victory Fishing Corp., Aquatic Food Manufacturing Corp., Bigfish Foods Corp., Century Pacific Food Inc., Fortune Group Corp., Permex Producer and Exporter Corp., Southwest Asian Canning Corp., and Universal Canning Inc.END/Kai Grafia with reports from Joni Sarina R. Mejico, LEO-III