Atienza to lead Independence Day rites, mega job fair at Rizal Park

June 11, 2009 11:54 am 

MANILA, June 11 — Environment and Natural Resources Secretary and National Flag Advocate chair Lito Atienza will lead today (June 12) the 111th Independence Day rites at the Rizal Park in Manila.

Atienza, together with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Undersecretary Lourdes Trasmonte, will likewise spearhead the opening of the 3-day Kalayaan Mega Job and Livelihood Fair at the Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, infront of Quirino Grandstand.

“In keeping with the directive of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, we are doing away with the traditional parade on Independence Day. Instead, the government is putting its resources in undertaking a more responsive measure of providing livelihood opportunities to help the people in this time of global financial crisis,” Atienza said.

The Independence Day celebration will start at 8 a.m. with the traditional flag raising ceremony at the Independence Day Flag Pole and wreath-laying at the Rizal Monument to be led by Atienza. This will be followed by a short program at the Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz where the DENR chief is expected to address the celebration with a message centering on this year’s theme, “Kagitingan, Kagalingan at Kasipagan Tungo sa Tunay na Kalayaan.”

Atienza said the “Kalayaan 2009 Mega Job and Livelihood Fair” is the biggest nationwide job fair to be organized by the government. It will be held simultaneously in 19 cities nationwide on June 12 to June 14, with about 1,000 employers from the private and government sectors taking part, including overseas recruitment agencies. Around 170,000 job vacancies in various industries, including government service, will be offered.

According to Atienza, the first day of the job fair on June 12 would feature government offices which will be offering around 50,000 emergency employment vacancies and unfilled plantilla positions. The plantilla positions will be offered to those with civil service eligibility.

The emergency employment for not more than six months in government agencies is allowed under Executive Order No. 782 which directs all government agencies to set aside one and a half percent (1.5 %) of their budget for operating expenses for the purpose. Issued last Feb. 10, it tasked the DOLE to oversee compliance and implementation of the scheme which places priority to displaced workers affected by the effects of the current global financial crisis.

Specifically, the DENR will be offering 223 emergency jobs nationwide, with an allotment of P6.46 million from its operating expenses.

According to Atienza, aside from the emergency jobs, the DENR is actively supporting President Arroyo’s job generation program, particularly in the countryside.

“In support of the President’s Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) which was launched last year, the DENR has made available around 116,288 ‘green collar’ jobs through our Upland Development Program (UDP) and Bantay Gubat (BG) project,” Atienza said.

Under the UDP component, the DENR chief said around 52,425 upland farmers will be given one hectare each of open and denuded upland area to reforest with forest and fruit tree seedlings and high-value cash crops.

Under the Bantay Gubat project, a total of 63,863 residents in upland areas and coastal communities will be hired as forest rangers and extension officers, who will be on the lookout for timber poaching, forest fires and mangrove destruction. They are also tasked to collect seeds to be given to tree seedling nurseries.

In effect, said Atienza, the hiring of additional forest rangers under the Bantay Gubat project will ensure the protection of some 6.4 million hectares of the country’s upland areas.

Secretary Atienza also said that malunggay seedlings and seedling packets will be given out during the event in all DENR booths nationwide. At the Rizal Park, the DENR has readied some 30,000 malunggay seedlings and seed packets for distribution at booth no. 5.

About 70,000 jobs from private local firms are slated for application on the second day of the job fair (June 13), to be followed by another 50,000 sea-based and land-based overseas employment to be offered by recruitment agencies on June 14. (PNA) /V3PR/utb/

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