Decent jobs a priority in post-‘Yolanda’ rehabilitation

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Tacloban City and the rest of typhoon-ravaged places in Regions 8, 7 and 6 must be rehabilitated and rebuilt based on a framework of building the people’s capacity to survive calamities and live a secure and dignified life thereafter.

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A new model of community must be built from the ruins of Yolanda. Decent employment must be a top priority since it is regular income that gives people a sense of long-term security and a life of dignity.

The private sector to which the government completely relies on to generate jobs is not capable, prior to and after Yolanda, of providing employment to the people of these regions. Therefore the rehabilitation plan must include a medium to long-term public employment program where the State plays the key role.

Such a program may include social service activities such as healthcare, climate-resilient mass housing projects, education and skills training, as well as building new, smart and renewable power and transport systems that would create green jobs, among others.

If Yolanda is the “new normal” vis-à-vis climate change, then the government must not stay on a normal mode of asking, repacking, and delivering relief goods from northern countries in the face of 20 Yolandas in every semester of the year. There must be a shift—from relief operations to building prepared and secured communities.

The northern countries whose high carbon emissions produce many Yolandas in the Pacific must be made to pay for a climate debt they owe to poor nations such as the Philippines. The compensation coming from them must be utilized for building a new kind of communities.

Unfortunate our country is still under the rule of the ilustrado class whose vision of the country cannot go beyond the insular demand of their pockets.  It is clear that the national and local government’s failure to respond to Yolanda is the failure of trapo politics. On the 150th birth anniversary of working class hero Andres Bonifacio, it is time to renew the national hero’s struggle for national freedom and social justice in the present context of neo-liberal globalization and climate crisis.

Wilson Fortaleza
Partido ng Manggagawa spokesman
141 Legaspi Streets, Barangay Marilag, Project 4, QC

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