Only a fourth of the displaced workers in Boracay Island have availed of the government's livelihood programs offered to them, a Labor official told lawmakers at a congressional hearing on Thursday.
At the same time, Labor Undersecretary Ma. Joji Aragon said only 24 percent of the P450-million allocated for the displaced Boracay workers during the six-month closure has been used, far from the 85-percent utilization rate targeted by the government by the end of the rehabilitation.
During the hearing conducted by the House committee on natural resources, chaired by LPGA Party-list Rep. Arnel Ty, Aragon said as of June 18, the department has disbursed P1.3 million for 2,900 formal sector workers under its adjustment measures program, and another P20.3 million for some 3,000 informal sector workers under its 30-day emergency employment program.
The DoLE had assisted 148 under its government internship program, she said, while 399 attended its social preparation training. The department also has conducted two job fairs for the displaced workers so far, Aragon added.
Out of the 24,453 profiled workers in Boracay, 19,689 belong to the formal sector, while the remaining 4,764 were informal workers, the agency said. A total of 17,735 formal sector workers are residents of Malay town in Aklan, of which the resort island is part of.
The committee conducted the hearing in response to House Resolution 1706 seeking a congressional probe into the closure of Boracay.
Ty questioned the supposed absence of a “grand plan” in addressing the environmental woes that led to the closure. Maricel V. Cruz
“We due respect... We had an onsite hearing last June 1 and all the stakeholders were present. One of their questions is really, the absence of a comprehensive action plan. And I think... the stakeholders, the residents, the investors, even NGOs [non-government organizations] are asking about this,” Ty told the DoLE executives.
The House committee also invited officials of the Environment and Local Government departments.