By Liezle Basa-Inigo
Senior labor officials and quick response teams have been dispatched by the labor department to Mindanao, to assess the extent of the destruction in workplaces and possible displacement of workers in areas hit by the powerful earthquake.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Undersecretary Ana Dione and Assistant Secretary Benjo Santos Benavidez will go to General Santos City, and Davao City to lead regional DOLE officials in the assessment of the situation.
The labor chief himself will go to Mindanao this Sunday to personally see the situation there and he will be accompanied by executive director Noel Binag of the Occupational Safety and Health Center for the safety assessment of affected workplaces.
“This Sunday, I will personally fly to Davao City to see the extent of the damage and its effect on the employment of our kababayans,” Bello said.
After the assessment of the extent of the damage, he said the department is set to allocate funds to provide emergency employment assistance to the affected workers and livelihood assistance to informal sector workers.
“We have received a directive from the President to monitor and provide appropriate assistance to the earthquake-affected cities. Even when the first earthquake jolted Mindanao early this month, we have already deployed our team to provide assistance for the affected workers,” Bello said.
So far, he said they have yet to receive reports on job displacements of workers in the affected areas.
Bello added that labor inspectors were already deployed to check the compliance of establishments on occupational safety and health standards and ensure the safety of the workers.
A magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit Cotabato, Thursday just days after a 6.6 tremor struck the same area.