KALAYAAN, PALAWAN – The Department of Labor and Employment – MIMAROPA, in collaboration with the Department of National Defense, Western Command Arm Forces of the Philippines and LGU of Kalayaan, flew to Barangay Pag-asa Island, Municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan on the 09 November and 06 December 2022 to provide the Department’s programs and services to the residents of the island.

During the initial visit, the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) and DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) or Kabuhayan Program were successfully introduced. The team conducted the TUPAD and Livelihood orientation and distribution of PPEs. DOLE MIMAROPA Asst. Regional Director, Atty. Erwin N. Aquino emphasized the intention of the DOLE in extending its programs and services to the people of Kalayaan.

While at the island the team took advantage of time to conduct a Labor and Employment Education Seminar to more or less 150 workers of Mamsar Construction and Industrial Corporation. Topic includes Labor Relation and Labor Standards; Occupational Safety and Health Standards and Special issues and concerns were discussed.

Also, in line with the birthday celebration of the DOLE Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma, gift giving of McDonald happy meals were distributed to 40 elementary students and a few toddlers. The smiles and excitement of the children brought joy to all as they actively participated in the activity that was held. After the gift giving, they joyously sang and greeted Secretary Laguesma with a birthday song.

On the second visit, the DOLE team was transported to Kalayaan Island via NOMAD aircraft with the support and cooperation of the WESCOM Palawan. Headed by DOLE MIMAROPA Regional Director – Naomi Lyn C. Abellana, the team was gladly welcomed by uniformed personel headed by Island Commander Lt. Senior Grade Rey. S. Tibay of the Naval Forces West.

A meeting was conducted with the beneficiaries to discuss the livelihood programs they can avail of to sustain the community’s needs. Hog raising (with septic tank), chicken poultry, bakery and pastry, food processing, barbeque stand and enhancement of fishing boats are some of the mentioned livelihoods.

“DOLE MIMAROPA will ensure to be reachable for the unreached community within the region like the Kalayaan Island. I am pleased that with deliberate efforts (in conjunction with other government agencies), DOLE could set foot to the island to realize the DOLE programs and services gradually. I look forward to seeing a thriving community despite its peculiarity.”, RD Abellana said in her message.

On 07 December, 2022, TUPAD payout was conducted to the beneficiaries who rendered their services after the orientation done on the first visit. A total amount of Php190,635.00 was released to the beneficiaries for 22 days of work.

The beneficiaries highly appreciated the implementation of the TUPAD program in Brgy. Pag-Asa, Kalayaan as this will augment their financial needs. They are likewise very optimistic about the implementation of the livelihood programs in the first quarter of 2023.

Some of the beneficiaries’ statements:

“Maraming salamat po sa DOLE MIMAROPA, ang natanggap kong pera ay ibibili ko ng cellphone para sa aking anak na nag-aaral, hindi na siya mahihirapan sa paggawa ng assignment para sa eskwela.” (Mr. Badilla)

“Pandagdag ko po ito sa aking sari-sari store, salamat po sa DOLE!” (Ms. Belona)

“Maraming salamat po, ipadadala ko po ito sa aking dalawang anak na nag aaral, isang kolehiyo at isang Senior High, pang gastos nila sa kanilang pag-aaral.” (Mr. Cuanco)

“Isa po akong biyuda, ipadadala ko ito sa aking 36 taon gulang na anak na may kapansanan. Hindi po siya nakakapagsalita. Salamat po!” (Ms. Franco)

“Dagdag pambayad ko po ito sa aking bangka.” (Mr. Villanueva)

Part of the Spratly Islands, situated within the South China Sea, the Kalayaan municipality, which includes Thitu Island is 280 nautical miles north-west of Puerto Princesa and 579 miles south-west of Metro Manila. It consists of a single barangay located on Pag-asa Island, which also serves as the seat of the municipal government.

TUPAD or Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers is a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum period of 10 days, but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days, depending on the nature of work to be performed.

DILP or Kabuhayan Program is the DOLE’s contribution to the governments’ agenda of inclusive growth through massive job generation and substantial poverty reduction. It seeks to reduce the vulnerability to risks of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized workers by providing them access to a grant assistance for capacity-building on livelihood ventures either for individual or group undertakings.