STEER-Northern Cebu Project launched

_IGP8275About 100 days after Typhoon Yolanda struck Cebu, the Skills Training and Emergency Employment towards Recovery in Northern Cebu (Steer-Northern Cebu) Project was launched in Daanbantayan last February 12.

A partnership between the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Province of Cebu and the concerned Local Government Units (LGUs), it was held at the municipal grounds. The launching was graced by Vice Governor Agnes A. Magpale, Mayor Augusto D. Corro, Vice Mayor Gilbert Arabis Jr. and some SB members. Tesda Assistant Regional Director/ Provincial Director Buenafe Sta. Rita; Dole Reg. 7/Prov’l. Director Grace Diaz with municipal, barangay officials and employees.

STEER will help imbibe the Bayanihan spirit whereby community folks would be mobilized to restore and rehabilitate their own area.

The project intends to help northern Cebu get back on its feet after super typhoon Yolanda. The skills and competencies of peopleto rebuild, repair and eventually rehabilitate shelter, cultural heritage and other infrastructures of devastated communities will be developed. The project will also provide emergency employment opportunities for community folks to jumpstart their lives towards eventual normalcy.

The UNDP provided the funding of the project, based on the project proposal submitted by the province. According to Ms. Marivic Calderon, Vice Governor Magpale’s consultant on livelihood, the funding was downloaded to the province and utilized to purchase tools and equipment, provide cash for work for the 100 trainees for 20 days as well as the honoraria of the trainers. Training will be in the field of carpentry, masonry, electrical installation and welding. A two-day entrepreneurship training will also be added to the skills training.

Vice Governor Agnes Magpale echoed the hope of Governor Hilario P. Davide III that northern Cebu will rise from the devastation of super typhoon Yolanda. She reiterated that the province is always there to support all efforts to rehabilitate the damaged areas.

Vice Governor Magpale also revealed that the International Labor Organization and Islamic Relief Worldwide have shown interest in the program. Magpale added that, if necessary, the program may be expanded.

DOLE Director Diaz encouraged the participants to take the training seriously as the skills that they will acquire will surely be put to good use as a source of livelihood both in and out of the country.

Vice Mayor Gilbert Arabis Jr. thanked the agencies involved in the Steer Project as this will open doors for the participants and even equates the projectto the biblical line of teaching a man to fish for him to live not just for a day but for a longer period.

He added that the project just mirrors the honest intention of the ‘Aquino and Davide administrations to provide livelihood to the constituents of the municipality as well as those in the other parts of the province.

Mayor Augusto Corro was very grateful for the ‘one-of-a-kind,’ ‘brilliant’ project which pays the participants even when they are still undergoing training. He added that the project can help solve the shortage of skilled workers in the rehabilitation of the devastated areas.The mayor added that if municipal funds allow, he may replicate the project concept in partnership with Tesda.

The areas covered by the project are Daanbantayan, Bantayan island, Bogo, Medellin and San Remegio which are hardest hit and have the most numbers of distressed and displaced families.

The trainees are provided with starter kits containing tools which will eventually be issued to them at the end of the training period.

The expected outputs are model shelter houses for themselves and other members of the community. Other structures that were damaged will also be made as projects of the training participants. Roger Serna