The meeting was led by Deputy Director-General Gilbert Houngbo and featured a live video-conference with Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director of the ILO Office for the Philippines. Johnson explained the strategy of the ILO's emergency employment programmes aimed at rebuilding communities and restoring or creating livelihoods.
Some 13 million people in nine separate regions and 36 provinces have been affected by the disaster. 40 per cent of those affected (5.1 million) are workers, 2.2 million of whom were engaged in vulnerable forms of employment.
Participants heard an update on the status of the ILO programmes. An Emergency Employment Office has been established in Ormoc City, and cash-for-work activities have begun in Bogo City in Northern Cebu. Priority is being given to debris clearance and cash for work.
The Response Action Plan, which is part of the UN Flash Appeal for the disaster, includes a livelihoods component of US$ 31 million, of which US$ 24 million are for the ILO emergency employment programmes. At the same time the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is scheduling US$ 23 million for emergency assistance and is considering coordinating its livelihoods and employment plans with those of the ILO.
So far some US$ 270 million have been contributed in total to the relief efforts. These include donations from Australia (US$ 9.3 million, including medical staff, water containers and hygiene kits), Canada (US$ 5 million for shelter, food, water and livelihoods support), the European Union (US$ 3 million for humanitarian assistance and US$ 10 million for the rehabilitation of affected areas), Finland (€ 1 million for aid relief), Japan (US$ 10 million, plus US$ 500,000 earmarked for an ILO-Japan initiative), Republic of Korea (US$ 5 million plus a 40-strong medical team), the Netherlands (€ 2 million for the UN and IFRC), New Zealand (US$ 2 million for NGO work), Norway (US$ 10 million), United Arab Emirates (US$ 10 million for humanitarian aid), the United Kingdom (US$ 16 million for emergency shelter, water and household items), and the United States (US$ 20 million in humanitarian aid and logistics support). Norway and the United Kingdom have expressed interest in supporting ILO livelihoods schemes in two regions of the country.
Under the relief effort, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between members of the Livelihood Cluster in the Philippines, which is co-led by the ILO and the Department of Welfare and Development, and includes the Department of Labor and Employment, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Social Security System, as well as UNFPA, IOM, WFP, UNDP, ACF International and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).
Under the MoU the cluster agreed to apply and promote decent work principles in undertaking activities, which include
- debris clearance through cash-for-work schemes in order to provide immediate income to households;
- onsite training to beneficiary workers during the repair, reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure to address the expected demand for skilled workers;
- the organization, training and registration of workers with government agencies to acquire the legal personality to be engaged as local community contractors for the repair and rehabilitation of community assets and facilities and other emergency employment activities;
- the engagement of community contractors to demonstrate capacity to address local labour market demand resulting from new investment priorities by public and private development actors.
The cash-for-work schemes will comply with international and national standards on decent work. This means they will equal 100 per cent of the regional minimum wage, and will strictly observe occupational safety and health standards, including appropriate protective wear. Selection criteria will take account of the needs for vulnerable groups such as female-headed households, families with pregnant women and infants, the disabled, and others. Nursing services will be available on project sites. Projects will be regularly monitored to ensure that participants are safe from exploitation, sexual abuse and harassment. Social protection benefits and accident insurance will be extended to workers.