Typhoon Ruby cripples livelihood for 800,000 – ILO

MANILA, Philippines – The sources of income of at least 800,000 workers in 8 regions were crippled overnight after Typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) ravaged the areas, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said Wednesday, December 10.

Their livelihood were either disrupted or damaged as 2014's strongest typhoon made landfall in 4 areas in the archipelago over a 3-day period.

Almost half or 370,000 of these workers were "in vulnerable employment, living in poverty and accepting whatever work is available to them," based on the ILO's initial assessment. 

The affected workers hail from Metro Manila, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, Caraga, Bicol, Calabarzon, and Mimaropa regions.

Typhoon Ruby increased the labor woes of some 350,000 workers in Eastern Visayas, which is still recovering from the aftermath of 2013's even more ferocious Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). They represent 20% of the region's employed.

The tropical country of more than 90 million – over 20% of whom are impoverished – battles against an average of 20 typhoons a year. The ILO said the Philippines is the 3rd most disaster-prone country in the world.

Storms have intensified and become more deadly in recent years due to the warming of the ocean, climate scientists observed.

Typhoons "reach their greatest intensity while located over warm tropical water," state weather bureau PAGASA said in a primer.

Emergency employement

While efforts are currently focused on the immediate relief of and shelter assistance to some 390,000 people mostly in Samar island in Eastern Visayas, the government earlier assured the public it is "ready to provide assistance" to "workers displaced by the calamity."

Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz had readied quick response teams of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the affected regions to assist workers left jobless by closures and retrenchments of companies due to Typhoon Ruby.

The assistance package includes:

The ILO, a United Nations (UN) agency dealing with labor issues, said Wednesday it has prepositioned $1.5 million (P66.95 million)* to cushion the impact of the typhoon on Philippine employment.

The allocated funds are meant to "support the government through emergency employment and sustainable livelihood," the ILO said, adding that decent work and livelihood is at the forefront of recovery.

ILO Philippines director Lawrence Jeff Johnson explained that the "injection of cash into the local economy and the purchase of local goods and services create a multiplier effect to help build back better and faster after the disaster.”

"These are not just labor rights but also basic human rights," he added.  Rappler.com 


*$1 = P44.63