Promoting a people and job-centred approach to disaster response

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Australian Government will bring together community leaders from areas hit by Typhoon Bopha (also named Pablo) in a forum to discuss a people and job-centred approach to disaster response.

Press release | Manila, Philippines | 25 September 2014

MANILA (ILO News) - The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Australian Government will bring together community leaders from areas hit by Typhoon Bopha (also named Pablo) in a forum to discuss a people and job-centred approach to disaster response.

The forum “Working out of disasters: Job-led growth after Typhoon Bopha (Pablo)”, will be held on 26 September 2014 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City.

The Australian Government and the ILO have worked together to help affected communities in the two years since Typhoon Pablo devastated parts of Davao Oriental. Programme initiatives include job training, building sustainable livelihoods and ensuring social protection to help communities build back better and create ongoing sources of income. The success of the initiative was tested last year, when Tropical Storm Agaton (Lingling) caused flash floods and landslides in the same area.

Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines, said the programme helped affected communities to recover from the second disaster more quickly and more effectively than in the past.

“When we talk about building back better, the communities were able to come together and reach out to the most vulnerable and provide assistance,” he said. “Through decent work and sustainable livelihood programmes, recovery efforts were able to get people back on their feet more effectively, and the communities are again moving forward.”

There are several principles which underlie the programme’s success.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said, “A key element is that people are given the chance to build on the opportunities provided by the programme so they are not dependent on welfare or handouts in the future. Workers are given skills training and the tools they need, plus safety equipment and instruction. Australia has worked closely with our partners to achieve the goal of building resilient communities in areas that, unfortunately, are all too often subjected to the fury of Mother Nature.”

“Australia continues to work with our Philippine partners to make Filipinos safer and more resilient to the threats from natural disasters, which drive people into poverty and threaten sustainable economic development. We support programmes that ensure full participation of men and women in building their livelihoods and their economies including in communities affected by disasters.”

The following cases studies are examples of how this unique programme is helping Filipinos to strengthen their ability to deal with natural disasters and move toward greater levels of prosperity.

Promoting a people and job-centred approach to disaster response case studies:

In Baganga, former insurgents were able to create a supply chain for chili production. Ten barangays were involved in the programme, which developed production over 50 hectares of farmland. Most of the areas selected for assistance were not covered by government services, so the project included a number of elements.

Some farmers were trained in construction methods to build a 60 meter hanging bridge to provide greater access to the area. Others were trained to process the chili to ensure it was suitable for sale, while another element of the programme taught the barangays how to more effectively market their product and generate sales revenue. In addition, the programme helped locals to build a water supply system that they can maintain themselves.

Assistance was provided by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Science and Technology. Other significant assistance came from the Green Mindanao Association, the Baganga Irrigators Association and the San Isidro-Dapnan-San Victor Irrigators Association.

After two years, the residents of Baganga have access to the market and the children are able to easily reach their school, even in bad weather.

In another project, 17 kilometres of irrigation canals were desilted and cleared to ensure rice paddies could again be used for production. This helped locals to recover more than P400 million in losses from an area that is known as the ‘rice granary of the province.’ In Cateel, farmers are now harvesting 60 sacks of rice per hectare after the repair of irrigation canals with the Taytayan Irrigators Association.

In conjunction with the Baculin Fisherfolks Association, the programme helped to plant more than 15,000 mangrove trees over a 50 hectare coastal area. This has helped to regenerate the habitat and breeding grounds for several species of crab and fish, generating future income for fishing families in the region.

Vermicast production facilities were also set up with the Kinablangan Producers Cooperative, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Department of Agrarian Reform to assist 15,000 beneficiaries. The program helped farmers to establish high-yield, low cost crops and promote greener, organic farming methods that are less reliant on the use of expensive chemicals and pesticides.

In addition to chili, farmers in the province were able to produce vegetables, cassava, peanuts and corn. Another 83 hectares of land was cleared for corn and cassava production in partnership with the Lambajon Social Action Centre of the Sacred Heart Parish Church.

A Forest Adventure Tour and Eco-tourism was also initiated by the Community Forest Program-Taytayan Multipurpose Cooperative with two hectares of land cleared and 73-meter pathway to the waterfalls built along with trails and eco-lodges. Mahogany trees were also planted and drainage canals were cleared. Moreover, workers and their families were able to benefit from social security, accident and medical benefits under the Social Security System and the Philippine Health Insurance coverage. After two years of working in tents, the barangay hall, day care centre and food terminal in Cateel were also reconstructed.

In Boston, the Cabasagan Fisherfolk Association and the Sibahay Fisherfolks Association built lobster pens in partnership with the Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. After almost two years, the 2.7 hectare nursery facility of the Boston Coffee Growers Association was also repaired and new stock of native chickens for poultry were provided. The ILO and Australian partnership also supported power restoration in 25 barangays with the Davao Oriental Electric Cooperatve in Cateel and Boston.

And as another element of the program, Child Alert Mindanao in coordination with the United Nations Population Fund also launched an education and radio campaign against human trafficking, child labour and violence against women and children.

For further information please contact:

Ms Jing Damaso
Australian Embassy Public Affairs
Tel: +63 2 757 8327

Ms Minette Rimando
ILO Country Office for the Philippines
Tel: +63 2 580 9900 / 580 9905