Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has lauded Public Works and Highways Secretary Roger Mercado for launching the Assistance to Support Youth and Unemployment for Development (AYUDA) program, saying that this is a new weapon that government can rely on in fighting unemployment and poverty triggered by the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
On Monday, Dec.7, Go joined President Rodrigo Duterte in congratulating the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) chief as he launched the AYUDA which aims to provide at least 10,000 youths and unemployed Filipinos with jobs to help them recover from the economic effects of the pandemic.
In a message to the DPWH, Go said AYUDA should be pursued with vigor in order for government to expand the reach of its assistance to COVID-19 aid beneficiaries.
“Nawa’y tuloy-tuloy pa ang inyong pagbangon sa pamamagitan ng youth and job assistance na ito. (It is hoped that you will continue to recover through this youth and job assistance),” said Go.
For his part, Duterte described Mercado’s employment generation and road maintenance program as “truly note worth as we offer job opportunities to the youth and the unemployed.’ “This program will not only help provide jobs to our countrymen but will also contribute to the completion of our ‘build, build, build’ process,” the chief executive said in a video message.
Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos attended the AYUDA launch at the Rizal Park to personally convey the gratitude of Metro Manila’s various local government units to Mercado for initiating the program.
“The AYUDA program is a novel way of alleviating the sufferings of the youth and the jobless who have been devastated by the effects of COVID-19. Not only will it help clean up and maintain roads but will also make them safe.”Abalos said.
Mercado explained that AYUDA opens up at least 10,000 jobs to the youth and the unemployed who will be tasked to help maintain the country’s 33,000 kilometer road network.
He said all accepted applicants will receive the legal daily minimum wage as they develop skills in road maintenance; vegetation control and street cleaning.
A veteran lawmaker from Southern Leyte, Mercado hopes to institutionalize the AYUDA program even when the COVID-19 crisis is over.