P18.2M fund earmarked for affected tourism workers

Over Php 18.2 million of the realigned budget from the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office and the provincial Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management (LDRRM) fund was allotted to aid the displaced tourism industry workers here during the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte’s Tourism Livelihood Continuity Program (TLCP) has financially assisted a total of 1,226 displaced daily wage earners, informal workers, and gig freelancers with its initial budget of Php12.4 million.

Through the Provincial Ordinance No.020-2020, more than Php 6 million from unexpected balances and unimplemented budget under the LDRRM Fund was allotted for the TLCP’s second batch of beneficiaries.

Some added 800 qualified restaurant workers, travel and tour staff, senior citizen tour guides, accommodation staff, destination workers, vendors of local products, souvenir makers, events and freelance artist, heritage artisans, and other workers in the tourism and cultural sectors will be aided by the new budget appropriation.

“We are finding ways to respond to this extraordinary situation that we’re in. This will require extraordinary effort and solutions.

“What we want to do is to be able to provide livelihood continuity. We had a small budget and Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc had approved its realignment, specifically for livelihood interventions,” Provincial Tourism Officer Ian B. Raquel said in previous remarks.

A “work later” agreement will be signed by Tourism Livelihood Continuity Program cash recipients for a return service after the enhanced community quarantine and other preventive measures are lifted. Work on return service will be designed to match the skillset and schedule of beneficiaries.

Application for the TLCP Batch 2 had closed and INTO is yet to announce the schedule for the cash aid distribution.

The province’s Public Employment and Services Office has an ongoing employment program for health personnel, while the Social Welfare and Development Office, and Environment and Natural Resources Office also already had given financial aid to public transportation drivers and daily wage earners affected by the pandemic. —(Edison Justin B. Deus, PGIN-CMO)