DOLE-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) director Nathaniel Lacambra (Screengrab from Laging Handa briefing)

MANILA – Some 4,625 workers displaced by the July 27 magnitude 7 earthquake that rocked Northern Luzon are set to benefit from the emergency employment program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), an official said on Thursday.

In a Laging Handa presser, DOLE-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) Director Nathaniel Lacambra said the agency's central office has released half of the PHP50 million budget for the program known as the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantaged and Displaced Workers Program (TUPAD).

"The Central Office has initially released PHP25 million for the purpose. I decided that we will focus the use of this fund on Abra, being the hardest hit province by the earthquake," Lacambra said.

He added that the remaining PHP25 million will be allotted for other areas in the Cordillera.

While some areas did not suffer heavy damage to buildings, Lacambra said residents in these areas are also in need as they cannot transport their goods and other products due to damaged roads.

"We have disbursed PHP8 million out of the PHP25 million fund as of yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon," Lacambra said, adding that the funds were distributed in Abra as early as July 29.

Under the DOLE's TUPAD program, beneficiaries are given jobs for a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 90 days.

They will be paid based on the prevailing minimum wage in the region.

He added that 21 affected establishments in Abra are still closed.

“There are 21 establishments that are still closed in Abra and their employees amounting to 426 workers are still unemployed, so the Department of Labor and Employment is stepping in to help them, give them financial assistance,” he added.

Aside from emergency employment, the DOLE is also providing jobs to qualified students under the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) and the Government Internship Program (GIP).

“There are 571 SPES participants in the province of Abra – they are repacking and distributing our relief goods, and at the same time when they distribute, they are also the ones profiling prospective beneficiaries of the TUPAD Program,” Lacambra said.

Under the GIP, qualified children of those who were affected by the earthquake will be hired for a period of three to six months to work as government interns. (PNA)