Pleased with PH response to ‘Ruby,’ US gives P33.4M
MANILA, Philippines–The United States government will give P33.4 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to the Philippines for the Tropical Storm “Ruby” recovery and rehabilitation efforts.
The aid will be coursed through the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office for Disaster Assistance, according to the US Embassy.
The US Embassy praised the Philippine government “on its extensive preparations” for Ruby’s impending entry and its “successful response in the wake of the storm.”
“The successful response to Ruby featured close cooperation between representatives from USAID, the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the US military, who worked with the Philippine government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to conduct initial assessments of conditions and needs in the hardest hit areas,” the embassy said.
This coordination “clearly showed that the repeated humanitarian and disaster assistance training and exercises between our countries is an important part of our relationship,” the embassy said quoting US Ambassador Philip Goldberg.
ILO helps again
Meanwhile, the International Labor Organization (ILO) on Thursday said it was providing an initial $1.5 million (about P66.8 million) in aid to the victims of Ruby.
The ILO provided almost half a billion pesos in emergency employment aid to workers and their families who survived Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in 2013.
According to Lawrence Jeff Johnson, the director of the ILO office in the Philippines, the Geneva-based body aims to help the Philippine government restore the storm victims’ livelihoods initially through emergency jobs, and later, with skills training and enterprise development.
The ILO has been “working hand in hand with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in helping the most vulnerable typhoon victims toward the sustainable path,” Johnson said in an interview.
“Instead of getting workers from other areas for road clearing and drainage projects or rebuilding damaged buildings, workers adversely affected by the typhoon will be tapped for these, among other projects,” he said.
Initial ILO estimates placed at 800,000 the number of workers that were adversely affected by Ruby, mainly in the Eastern Visayas, Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Mimaropa and northeastern Mindanao.
Jobs for the poor
They include about 370,000 in the so-called “vulnerable employment”
sector, or those living at or near the poverty level, getting less than the government-prescribed minimum wage and without social security and health insurance coverage even before the storm came.
With financial support from the Japanese and Norwegian governments, among others, and internal funds, the ILO has been working closely with the Philippine government in putting in place its emergency employment program, Johnson said.
After Yolanda, ILO joined forces with the DOLE to create an initial 20,000 jobs under its emergency employment program. It said the program’s initial phase was able to reach out and help improve the living and working conditions of more than 100,000 survivors of the supertyphoon.
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