More technology-driven jobs are in the offing as the science and labor departments join forces in a nationwide livelihood program that will be technology-driven, resource-based and sustainable. Priority of said livelihood program are Filipinos who are economically displaced and marginalized due to natural and man-made calamities, including returning or displaced OFWs and their families.
“We do not only aim to rebuild communities,” said Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario G. Montejo, “but also to enhance the resilience of our communities with the aid of technology.”
The program, also in collaboration with the trade and agriculture departments, will have several components, including the establishment of community-based enterprises, business incubators, business and technology centers, innovation and knowledge centers, and promotion of climate change mitigation to increase community disaster resiliency.
Said component programs, according to Sec. Montejo, are built upon the “Filipino’s spirit of self-reliance, resilience, and ingenuity.”
Business and technology incubators will provide a package of support services to start-up enterprises while business and technology centers will serve as alternative sites and technology terminals to create new or revive enterprises. Innovation and knowledge centers, meanwhile, will provide relevant information on science, technology, and innovation.
As well, the Department of Labor and Employment will provide working capital in the form of raw materials, equipment, tools and jigs; trainings on skills and entrepreneurship, and organizational development, as well as on productivity, safety and health; and facilitate entrepreneurs’ enrollment to micro-insurance.
Agreed responsibilities of said agencies are sealed in the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement on Jan. 23 this year at the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City attended by the heads, regional directors, and key officials of the involved agencies.
Within the next 30 days, DOST and DOLE regional offices will conduct consultations with possible beneficiaries and come up with a detailed action plan.
Priority technologies for livelihood
DOST’s priority technologies to be included in the livelihood program include indigenous handicraft making, fiber glass bancas, foldaway shelter, ceramic water pot filter, bakery products, charcoal briquetting, vegetable noodles, waste recycling, and complementary foods for babies.
For the fishery sector, livelihood packages include smokehouse kits, fish canning and bottling, fish and squid drying, vacuum packing, fish fillet, and minced fish.
While DOST will provide appropriate technologies and livelihood training, DOLE will handle the employment aspect. The Department of Trade and Industry will take care of the market side, and the Department of Agriculture will manage the agriculture and fishery aspect.
Joint forces to help Yolanda victims
This program is a convergence of government agencies, said Sec. Montejo, to maximize resources and ensure sustainability.
This is echoed by DOLE Sec. Rosalinda J. Baldoz who said that the four agencies, all in the livelihood, employment and commerce cluster, have forged this program in the cabinet level.
She shared that in her visits to Yolanda-hit areas, she found out that employment is now the top need of communities. “People in the devastated regions are already looking for jobs,” she bared.
This is why the agencies came up with this convergence program, she said, which is a part of the RAY or Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda.
Technology-driven, resource-based, sustainable
“The use of technology (in the livelihoods) will create value,” Montejo stressed. “The convergence of agencies ensure that there will be markets, and value-adding through technology ensure the program’s sustainability.”
On resource-based livelihoods, he explained, “Whatever we find in a certain area, we will create a product out of it using technology, add value to it, and find market for it.”
As an example, he shared that in his meetings with the local officials in Jaro, Leyte, they planned to package their local lechon (roasted pig) as “Yolanda-brand” and find market for it in Manila. In Basey, Samar, meanwhile, their abundant root crop camote (sweet potato), can be processed into chips, and appropriately package it to make it competitive in the market, he told.
“President Benigno S. Aquno III’s instruction is clear: All initiatives must be sustainable so that we will see better communities in the future,” Sec. Baldoz told. “The reforms pushed by the President are not great changes but reform on how we do things—that these initiatives will go on even after this administration.”
The programs, being technology-based, make us confident that these will be sustainable, according to her. “Sustainability ensures the transformation of beneficiaries to better families, communities and country, leading to inclusive growth.”
Convergence for Technology-driven, resource-based and sustainable livelihood. DOST Sec. Mario G. Montejo (middle, in white) sealed an inter-agency Memorandum of Agreement with DOLE Sec. Rosalinda D. Baldoz (seated, second from left) to pool resources and efforts to open more livelihood and job opportunities to displaced and marginalized calamity victims and OFWs. Key officials and regional directors of both DOST and DOLE (seated and standing) witnessed the MOA signing. (Photo by Framelia V. Anonas, S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)