When Typhoon Vinta lashed thru Mindanao a few days before Christmas last year, the devastation was strongest in the areas of Siocon, Sirawai, Sibuco and Baliguian in Zamboanga del Norte. Particularly affected were 8,178 families, mostly farmers. With a population of 55,000, affected workers composed roughly 15 percent of the total population.

Regional Director Ofelia B. Domingo said that since the Municipality of Siocon is nearest via Zamboanga City, DOLE 9 thru its Zamboanga City Field Office (ZCFO) took on the responsibility of providing the emergency needs of the 547 households affected.

She added that the beneficiaries were enrolled in the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged / Displaced workers (TUPAD) Program.

In coordination with Siocon’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO) lodged at the Office of the Mayor, some 711 individual beneficiaries were taken in to work on clearing and cleaning activities for a maximum of 30 days. They were also briefed on Occupational Safety and Health, particularly safe and unsafe practices in doing their respective jobs. Another topic covered was their availment of social insurance and compensation as they are covered by the GSIS group insurance policy while under the TUPAD program.

The TUPAD Program is a community-based (municipality/barangay) package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, the underemployed and the unemployed poor for a minimum of 10 days but not to exceed 30 days, depending on the nature of work.

Under the program, beneficiaries are provided with basic orientation on occupational safety and health, Personal Protective Equipment such as hat and TUPAD T-shirt, and enrolment in group micro-insurance scheme. They also enjoy payment of one hundred percent (100%) of the prevailing minimum wage in the locality as well as skills training thru TESDA or its accredited training institutions. END

With reports from Josefina Crudo, ZCFO

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