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Makeshift bamboo walkway now a steel footbridge because of DOLE

Negros Oriental, Philippines.  All her life, the lush vegetation and picturesque countryside of Barangay Nabago, Zamboguita has not ever changed. What has been there when she was younger typically remains almost the same including that makeshift bamboo walkway, a common sight that sits on a 20-meter high creek that residents of Sitio Balason have been using.

For Anita Biting, that bamboo walkway has been a part of how they live and do things every day. When children go to school, they cross the walkway. When farmers like her, sell their produce in town, they cross the walkway.

The swaying of that bamboo walkway, according to her, would scare the faint hearted. Sometimes, she recalled, one has to crawl, just to be able to make it to the other end.

But for Anita, she and her neighbors are used to it. They have to be used to it. At least it’s there.

But that totally changed on 24 January 2020.

Now 63, Anita could not believe that a makeshift bamboo walkway, which has gone through a lot of repair just like she did for herself when life gets too tough, would transform into something, which she never expected all her life.

That makeshift bamboo walkway, which is a daily test of her courage and bravery, is now a steel truss footbridge! It no longer sways. It no longer budge even when she and her neighbors would altogether cross it with their produce on their back.

Grateful and brimming with tears, Anita could only speak of kind words to those who made it all possible.

Ako kinasingkasing nga magpasalamat sa DOLE nga pinaagi sa TUPAD Program natabangan and among barangay nga maka tukod of luwas nga footbridge kay dako kayo ni ug kaayohan sa among safety kay sauna kung daot nag panahon kay mukamang pa mi para makatabok ky magtuya-tuya man ang kawayan nga footbridge (My heartfelt thanks to the DOLE for implementing its TUPAD program in our barangay. Because of it, we already have a safe concrete footbridge. Since the makeshift bamboo walkway sways every time we cross it, we have to crawl just to reach the other end especially during bad weather),” said Anita, who proudly had her photo taken on the steel footbridge during the ceremonial turn-over spearheaded by the DOLE-Negros Oriental Field Office (NOFO) held two weeks ago.

Apart from it, another Sitio from the same Barangay benefited the program. A smaller steel footbridge is also now available for the residents of Sitio Jawa.

In her report to DOLE-7 Regional Director Salome O. Siaton, NOFO Chief Marites G. Mercado said that the repair of the makeshift walkways turning them into steel footbridges was one of the assigned works identified for the fifty (50) beneficiaries of the DOLE’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) being implemented in Nagabo, Zamboanguita.

In coordination with the barangay officials, beneficiaries, mostly farmers and underemployed workers, were identified to carry out the work for thirty (30) days. Each one received a total of Php10,600.00 in wages as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) such as shirts, hard hat, rubber boots, gloves, and buri hats.

“To ensure safety of the workers, apart from the provision of PPEs, they were also given a basic orientation on safety and health. They were also provided with a group micro-insurance under GSIS,” said Mercado.

TUPAD is one of the major components of the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP), a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers for a minimum of ten (10) days but not to exceed a maximum period of 30 days depending on the nature of work.

For the TUPAD implementation in Barangay Nabago, the DOLE shelled out more than Php500,000.00.

For her part, Director Siaton complimented the local government unit (LGU) of Zamboanguita as well as the barangay officials of Barangay Nabago for also doing their share. She said that the work done by the beneficiaries could not have been completed on time as expected if there had not been any close monitoring performed by the concerned LGU.

Barangay Nabago provided for the materials of the footbridge repair such as steel, cement, sand and the DOLE shouldered the labor cost of the whole work under its TUPAD program.

“We are so happy that the DOLE’s TUPAD program has made a difference in the lives of beneficiaries. They do not only get to receive their wages for carrying out their assigned work, they also get to enjoy the outcome of it which is the transformation of their makeshift bamboo pathway into a steel footbridge,” said Director Siaton.

According to her, this is what is meant by government service – the kind of help reaching those who badly need it and are worthy of it especially those in the far flung areas, where the heart of government services is rarely felt.

 

End//LSenarlo-Taniza with reporting from BMdPadua of DOLE-NOFO

 

For more information on this report, you may contact LuchelSenarloTaniza, Regional Labor Communication Officer at telefax number (032) 266-2792 or you may send an email at dole_centralvisayas@yahoo.com.

 

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2020-02-05
SALOME O. SIATON
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