ILO Country Office for the Philippines
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  2. Tel.: +632 580 9900
  3. Fax:+63 2 8567597
  4. Portal on ILO's response after Haiyan

After Haiyan - The Philippines builds back…

Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as "Yolanda", struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, in what was reportedly the country’s worst-ever natural disaster. More than 8,000 people lost their lives and over 14 million inhabitants, including 5.9 million workers, were affected in some way by the storm. On the islands of Cebu, Coron, Leyte, Samar and Panay, the economic losses were particularly severe.

ILO emergency employment programmes were in place by December in the areas that were hardest hit by Haiyan. Rapid assessments of damage and job losses were made, clearance and cleaning works were begun, and labour-based rehabilitation of community assets, infrastructure and the environment were put in motion.

A year after the storm, the Philippines is building back better, greener and stronger than ever…

Typhoon's impact on the Philippines: Quick facts



  • With an average of 20 typhoons a year, the Philippines is the third most disaster-prone country in the world. In recent years, storms have been getting stronger and more deadly.
  • Helping stricken communities build back better, the ILO has been especially active over recent years in the Philippines, including responses to Super Typhoon Haiyan, the Bohol earthquake, civil unrest in Zamboanga and Typhoons Washi and Bopha.
  • At least 14.2 million were affected when Super Typhoon Haiyan struck on 8 November 2013, including 5.9 million workers whose livelihoods were destroyed or disrupted.
  • 2.6 million of these workers were already in vulnerable employment and living at or near the poverty line before the typhoon.
  • Since November 2013, more than 15,000 people were directly supported by the ILO and its partner organizations in the Philippines.
  • This is equivalent to about 76,000 family and community members who benefited indirectly from the ILO Haiyan project.


Planting seeds of the recovery

After the storm it was key to provide employment and livelihoods to those who had lost everything but their lives. On the island of Leyte, coconut trees that were a main source of income were destroyed. Replacement groves were planted, but it takes from five to seven years before new trees bear fruit. So the ILO worked with local farmers to lease the groves from the coconut tree owners to grow fruits and vegetables using “sloping agricultural land” or SALT technology. The profits of the harvest are shared with the owners who get a quarter of the earnings.

 

Building back better...

After typhoon Haiyan struck parts of the Philippines in November 2013, ILO programmes not only created thousands of jobs but also tried to make them safe and decent.

Repairing the farm-to-market road of San Isidro


Near San Isidro, on the Philippine island of Leyte, workers repair a road. Communities along this road are among the poorest in the province, which was hit particularly hard by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.

“This will make things easier for us,” says Rosalina Ando, 35, one of the farm workers involved in repairing the farm-to-market road. “We are thankful for being given the chance to earn an income while helping our community.”

The road will connect farmers to markets and allow children to go to school in one of the remotest parts of the island.

An abandoned road roller on the side of the road has become a symbol for earlier, failed efforts to repair the road with heavy machinery. When the machine broke many years ago, nobody in the area was able to repair it. Now it is just a playground for the children from the nearby communities.

Replacing the use of heavy machinery with the ILO's labour-intensive, manual labour approach turned out to be an advantage for the community.

Workers building the road are paid to build the road at 260 pesos a day, which is above the country’s minimum wage for unskilled workers.

Rogelio Quiseo, 52, has been struggling to meet the needs of his family since the Typhoon struck. "I couldn't go back to farming right away" he says. But the 15 days of work on the road have allowed him to buy food for his family.

Social protection for all

Besides paying a guaranteed minimum wage, the programme has given workers access to social security benefits and ensured their safety and health at work on all the ILO projects dedicated to rebuilding after Haiyan.

In Ormoc, workers are rehabilitating the City Health Office, the administrative and operational centre of the local public health system.

“When I was working in Manila, I would earn 2,500 pesos per month. My bosses were kind, but I was not covered by social security” says Emelda Candelario, 46, one of the construction workers in Ormoc.

Another worker, Carlon Cayudong rejoins her: “Now I am earning more money, and I also get free insurance. This is why I am really grateful".
Safety first for construction worker, Emelda Candelario

The workers also benefit from strict safety rules at work. At all the work sites, workers have been given safety training as well as workplace safety equipment including gloves, masks and protective clothing.

“The idea is to ensure these workers should not become victims again as they start to rebuild their communities. Their jobs should be as safe and decent as any other job,” says Jonathan Price, Chief Technical Adviser of the ILO recovery programmes.

“The wages also inject cash into the local economy, strengthen the purchasing power of the poor and allow small investments to set up a small business,” he adds.

Susan Ang, the mayor of San Isidro is already thinking about the future: “We hope that the ILO will continue to help us become more resilient to future storms”.
It is my fervent hope that more projects shall be undertaken in our municipality, thereby helping more residents and beneficiaries to cope with the damages brought about by the calamity. I appeal to the ILO to continue inspiring us here in San Isidro on how to become more pro-active in addressing the trials of nature to allow us to become more resilient and build back better our community.” Mayor Susan Ang Yap, San Isidro, Leyte

Building back greener...

One of the most urgent challenges after the storm was to find housing and to provide income for the millions of workers and their families who had lost everything to Haiyan. Local communities and the ILO teamed up to produce ICEB [interlocking compressed earth blocks] to build back better and greener. Better, because the mix of limestone soil, cement and water ensures that their resistance is more than the UN standard for shelter construction after natural disasters (800 PSI instead of the UN minimum of 600 PSI). Greener, because the limestone soil not only makes the bricks more solid than concrete but also avoids using sand thus preserving a valuable natural resource as well as the country’s pristine beaches.

 

In their own words: How the ILO helped




  Roy Ilustrisimo, Food, beverage and accommodation trainee





  Lloyd Polinar, Welder






  Elconida Delos Angeles, Sawali weaver





  Jun Soriano, President, Cebu Construction Workers Solidarity and  May Elizabeth Ybañez, Director, Cebu Chamber of Commerce

New skills for a better life

Dolores Lagu is one of the 600 trainees who have been taught carpentry skills in Tacloban. Once they have their certificates, the ILO and its partners in the project will try to match the trainees with potential employers offering jobs in construction and related fields.

Building back with Decent Work for all

After Haiyan, ILO programmes in the Philippines focused on poor and displaced people, especially in indigenous communities.

Boat landing at Malawig, after a three hour boat ride
Most people associate Haiyan with the destruction of Tacloban City. The town bore the brunt of the super typhoon. But Haiyan also devastated more remote places like the island of Coron.

Coron is well known as an island paradise, offering ultimate outdoor and diving experiences to tourists. But when an ILO team arrived in the aftermath of Haiyan, they found devastation and trauma among the poor and indigenous people who make this island their home.

People, houses, livestock, boats, fishing gear and farms of the Tagbanua peoples were washed away when the typhoon hit the remote municipality of Malawig. The only road to the community was also washed away.

Parents lost their children during the storm. They can still hardly speak about what happened to them. Others were luckier, but lost their means of supporting their families. "My mother-in-law convinced us to evacuate. We survived but our boat was heavily damaged” says Sinjin Capriano, a 29 year old fisherman.

Biogas septic tanks to produce safe household water
The storm also destroyed the local water sources and sanitation system, an immediate and serious health threat. Thanks to the ILO project, 60 fishermen and 30 support workers learned to build biogas digester septic tanks connected to household communal toilets, rainwater harvesting tanks with hand washing facilities, and bio-sand filters to produce safe household water.

“The water supply was a big problem. The pipeline connecting us to the water source was damaged. But since we built the water tanks we have water again”, says Elsie Ramirez, a 39 year old villager, who says she doesn't think at all about leaving. “I grew up here, and this is where I built my family. I feel we are safe here despite what has happened”.

With their new skills, fishermen who lost their livelihoods could find work in nearby communities, building similar low-cost water supply and sanitation systems.

Weaving the walls for a better future

In the municipality of Guadalupe, another new ILO project is helping indigenous people and poor families affected by Haiyan. Working with a local NGO, "sawali" - woven and split bamboo mats found all over The Philippines, are used to construct provisional, low cost housing.

Weaving Sawali bamboo mats
The Guadalupe Community Sawali Enterprise Development Project has two components: the construction of the Sawali Livelihood Centre where the products of the weavers will be exhibited, and the production of Sawali mats and other handmade artisanal bamboo products at a nearby site.

The Sawali weavers cut, split, hammer and skin the bamboo before they pass it on to the weavers. The final product is sold in rolls which are sold for 1,200 pesos each.

The construction of a sheltered production site has doubled production. Before, the weavers were not able to work during the three to four hours of rain that fall here every day.

“Before the ILO arrived, we did not have a permanent job. Now, we have a more stable source of income”, says 65 year old Elconida Delos Angeles, a mother of eight children.

The local coordinator of the project and the coordinator from Manila explained to the villagers how how to make sawali production a stand-alone business that can provide enough income to the workers in the long run, important for the community and for the long-term sustainability of the project. Success will depend on the marketing of the bamboo mats and other products.

Weavers like 65 year old Elconida Delos Angeles also learned what they create has value. “Before we did not know the market price of our products. Now we know if we are making a profit or not”.

The Sawali weavers cut, split, hammer and skin the bamboo before they pass it on to the weavers




The idea behind our projects was to make sure that survivors of typhoon Haiyan are not forgotten in the recovery. It was crucial to ensure that the traumatic experience of the storm was not followed by another one which is being left vulnerable and exploited. They should not become victims again as they start to rebuild their communities and their jobs should be as safe and decent as any other job.” Jonathan Price, ILO Haiyan Project Coordinator

Decent work for a decent life   


  • The ILO response and its partners

    The ILO supported the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines in creating temporary jobs under “emergency employment programmes” to help improve living and working conditions for the victims of the super typhoon. Working closely with the British, Japanese and Norwegian Governments, NGOs and those affected on the ground, ILO activities brought much-needed immediate income and guaranteed minimum wage, social protection and safety and health to thousands of workers who had lost their livelihoods, while also ensuring better opportunities for affected communities in the longer term.
    Portal on ILO's response after Haiyan >>

  • The ILO response and its partners

    The ILO supported the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines in creating temporary jobs under “emergency employment programmes” to help improve living and working conditions for the victims of the super typhoon. Working closely with the British, Japanese and Norwegian Governments, NGOs and those affected on the ground, ILO activities brought much-needed immediate income and guaranteed minimum wage, social protection and safety and health to thousands of workers who had lost their livelihoods, while also ensuring better opportunities for affected communities in the longer term.
    Portal on ILO's response after Haiyan >>

  • The ILO response and its partners

    The ILO supported the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines in creating temporary jobs under “emergency employment programmes” to help improve living and working conditions for the victims of the super typhoon. Working closely with the British, Japanese and Norwegian Governments, NGOs and those affected on the ground, ILO activities brought much-needed immediate income and guaranteed minimum wage, social protection and safety and health to thousands of workers who had lost their livelihoods, while also ensuring better opportunities for affected communities in the longer term.
    Portal on ILO's response after Haiyan >>

  • The ILO response and its partners

    The ILO supported the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines in creating temporary jobs under “emergency employment programmes” to help improve living and working conditions for the victims of the super typhoon. Working closely with the British, Japanese and Norwegian Governments, NGOs and those affected on the ground, ILO activities brought much-needed immediate income and guaranteed minimum wage, social protection and safety and health to thousands of workers who had lost their livelihoods, while also ensuring better opportunities for affected communities in the longer term.
    Portal on ILO's response after Haiyan >>

  • The ILO response and its partners

    The ILO supported the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines in creating temporary jobs under “emergency employment programmes” to help improve living and working conditions for the victims of the super typhoon. Working closely with the British, Japanese and Norwegian Governments, NGOs and those affected on the ground, ILO activities brought much-needed immediate income and guaranteed minimum wage, social protection and safety and health to thousands of workers who had lost their livelihoods, while also ensuring better opportunities for affected communities in the longer term.
    Portal on ILO's response after Haiyan >>

  • The ILO response and its partners

    The ILO supported the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines in creating temporary jobs under “emergency employment programmes” to help improve living and working conditions for the victims of the super typhoon. Working closely with the British, Japanese and Norwegian Governments, NGOs and those affected on the ground, ILO activities brought much-needed immediate income and guaranteed minimum wage, social protection and safety and health to thousands of workers who had lost their livelihoods, while also ensuring better opportunities for affected communities in the longer term.
    Portal on ILO's response after Haiyan >>