Bangued, Abra- The Department of Labor and Employment – Abra Field Office (DOLE-AFO) exudes the time old motto of “service above oneself” through its continued service to the clients and the public in general.
With 27 municipalities in an area spanning 4,165.25 km‘, the province’ vast breadth felt the jolt of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake last July 27, 2022, affecting 303 barangays, damaging 24,952 individual houses and 728 infrastructures. It also affected 80 farmers/fisher folk, injured to 374 individuals, and caused 4 deaths due to an earthquake-induced landslide.
Many residents were forced to use temporary shelters such as tents made of tarpaulin, or makeshift sleeping areas as aftershocks rattled the region in the days proceeding.
The DOLE-Abra Field Office staff – alongside a cadre of men and women from Line Agencies, civic service groups, and non- government organizations braved their way in extending their services into the earthquake-affected municipalities in Abra.
Among its foremost programs as a member of the Rehabilitation and Recovery Cluster of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), is the TUPAD or the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers. The 10-15 temporary emergency employment offered by DOLE is compensated based on the prevailing minimum wage in the region.
As such, DOLE-Abra Field Office staff are expediting the profiling and processing of TUPAD beneficiaries, including the distribution of their Personal Protective Equipment/PPEs especially in the far-flung barangays.
The Field Office has similarly committed to maintaining active participation in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), with the ever-ready presence of personnel to respond to inquiries or DOLE-related services/assistance at the command center.
Essential DOLE programs under the Employment Facilitation, Employment Preservation and Regulation, and Workers Protection and Welfare continue to roll out in the province, with special emphasis on the DOLE-Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) such as the TUPAD.
Ms. Kyle Star Pescoso, 20 y/o BS Nursing student and Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) beneficiary, noted that she felt afraid during the earthquake, which coincidenta||y happened a day after her orientation to the SPES program. When asked why she went back to work, she noted that she felt grateful whenever she helps those inneed from all walks in life.
Another DOLE-AFO staff, Ms. Abby Joy Mistica, 24 y/o TUPAD Coordinator and aspiring civil engineer, said that “managbabain ak ”iddi, ngem gapu ti panag trabohuk itti DOLE nakasuro ako ti adu (I was timid before, but working at DOLE made me learn a lot)”. As a TUPAD Coordinator, Ms. Abby said that they have to rush the accurate evaluation of documents even if there are some online setbacks, because it is her contribution to her hometown.
Even when faced with a calamity, young leaders and workers excel and show their best as an epitome of resilience and value- driven service to our fellowmen.
End//Daryll B. Ponard