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62,000 workers affected by crisis in Calabarzon


[ Manila Bulletin Online ] February 28, 2009

21,000 retrenched, 41,000 partially displaced — DoLE

Lulu R. Principe

21,000 retrenched, 41,000 partially displaced — DoLE

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna — Some 62,000 workers in Calabarzon were either displaced or retrenched due to the global economic meltdown.

However, the regional office here of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) allayed fears that the impact of the crisis would continue to haunt workers in the industrial sector in the Southern Tagalog, which has 114,000 business establishments generating more than 4.6 million jobs.

DoLE Assistant Regional Director Amuerfina R. Reyes said of the 62,000 affected workers, 21,000 were retrenched and the rest, who are partially displaced, are still working but under so-called "flexible arrangements" such as job rotation, compressed work, and leave scheme.

"We are not in a panic situation," Director Reyes said as she announced that appropriate measures have been put in place to address the problem.

The measures, she said, include the initial allocation of R30 million for workers’ income augmentation, provision of all-out assistance for out-of-job overseas workers and training and scholarship program for workers who opted to be re-employed.

Admitting that the present economic situation is not normal, Reyes said, "it is, however, temporary and we are optimistic that everything will turn out fine soon."

She expressed optimism that with the determined stand of all sectors concerned to unite for effective collaboration, the national government agencies, such as the Departments of Agriculture, Trade, and Public Works and TESDA, and the business community, the situation will eventually improve.

Latest consultation by DoLE representatives with business leaders in the region’s 30 economic zones indicated that foreign and local investors were reluctant to retrench their workers because this would be devastatingly expensive as most of them are highly skilled and trained.

Locators in the economic zones, mostly established in Laguna and Cavite, manufacture, export and dispose of locally produced electronic products such as semi-conductors, automotive spare parts and garments.

The global financial crunch, she said, spared the food and service industries and business process outsourcing.

To boost the efforts to provide jobs to the displaced workers, the DoLE regional office has strengthened its tie-up arrangement with the local government units in the conduct of job fairs, service caravans, and workers’ assistance centers.

The job fairs have already helped at least 400 who were hired on the spot. Three-hundred others were given training certificates by TESDA, and 500 more to be employed under the emergency employment program.

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