Two GenSan tuna fishing firms avail DOLE’s emergency employment program

March 21, 2010 12:09 am 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, March 20 – At least two tuna fishing companies here have availed of the emergency employment and livelihood programs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to assist their workers who had been displaced as a result of the two-year fishing ban in the international waters off the central and western Pacific Ocean.

Lawyer Ma. Gloria Tango, DOLE Region 12 director, said they initially provided emergency employment assistance to at least 207 workers of tuna fishing and canning firm Damalerio Group of Companies through a partnership scheme with the affected company.

Based on DOLE’s action program for the affected tuna workers, she said they adopted an employment scheme covering at least 30 days wherein the beneficiaries would avail of various work detail and be paid with the prevailing minimum wages on a 60:40 mode of payment.

She said that 60 percent of the prevailing minimum wage in the region, currently at around P245 for the industrial workers, would come from DOLE while the remaining 40 percent would be shouldered by the affected company that have availed of the program.

Tango said the initial beneficiaries were mainly employees of the Damalerio Group of Companies, which includes the Celebes Tuna Fishing Corp., Tuna Venture Corp. and Damalerio Fishing Enterprise.

“The displaced workers were assigned to do maintenance work such as painting, welding, carpentry, electrical and mechanical repair, net-mending, refrigeration and hardware stock inventory,” she said.

To facilitate the programs implementation, Tango said DOLE-12 initially released some P456,435, which represented 50 percent of the 60 percent share of the agency for the minimum wages of the beneficiaries.

The emergency employment program has a required funding of some P1.52 million, P912,870 of which comes from DOLE and the remaining P608,580 from the participating company.

Aside from the Damalerio Group, Tango said another fishing firm NH Agro Industrial, Inc. availed of signified DOLE’s Kabuhayan Starter Kits for its displaced workers and beneficiaries.

She said the starter kits represent various livelihood packages for new ventures that the affected workers and their beneficiaries could pursue.

Aside from getting the livelihood packages, Tango said the youth beneficiaries or dependents of the workers would also be prioritized in the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) or the Kabataan Information Technology Opportunities (K-ITo).

She said the beneficiaries might be assigned as mentors for basic IT courses being given by the program should they qualify.

Tango also said that aside from the emergency employment and livelihood assistance, the other companies affected by the fishing ban may also avail of DOLE’s Workers’ Income Augmentation Program to help address the impact of the crisis on their employees.

DOLE-12 earlier estimated that at least 1,600 workers from eight of the 13 local tuna fishing companies would likely be displaced as the fishing ban continues.

Local tuna fishing companies estimated a 10 to 20-percent drop in tuna catches this year as a result of fishing ban in the Pacific’s international waters that was imposed starting Jan. 1 by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

The WCPFC imposed the fishing ban on all of its 25-member countries and 10 other observer-states as a result of scientific studies and the emergence of statistics that showed the drastic decline of tuna fish stocks, especially big-eye and yellowfin tuna.

The WCPFC was established by the Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, of which the Philippines was a signatory, that came into force in 2004.(PNA) RMA/AVE

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