LAOAG CITY – Lorenza Yoro, a housewife from number 55 village here has found income in cleaning the rivers and canals through the city government’s subsidized program.
Dubbed as “Agserbi 24/7: Laoag, Saluadak!” (24/7 In Service: Protect Laoag), the campaign is a form of a ‘Cash for Work’ program of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) wherein residents are hired to provide community service in return for an honorarium.
On August 8, in the queue of individuals is Yoro who reflected a happy face to receive her hard-earned money during the distribution of the beneficiaries’ payment at the Laoag City Auditorium.
Among the 351 workers who lined-up to receive their white envelopes from the city mayor, Yoro patiently waited for her name to be called from the list of the CSWDO.
Yoro along with her neighbors are made to clean the river near their village and clear the canals in their area as preparation for the onset of rainy season for 10 days.
Through the effort of the City Government of Laoag, the program hired at least 10 persons from the identified barangays (29 of them) who will be paid PHP231.00 pesos per day which took place on July 11-21.
“This is a very good program because we can prevent floods through cleaning the canals beforehand,” Yoro said in her native language.
But aside from knowing that their services are meant for disaster preparedness, Yoro is thankful more of the employment it gave to her.
“We hope that this program of the government may continue in our barangay so that we have something to pay for our children’s schooling,” Yoro said.
Knowing the impact of the program to the residents here, the Laoag City government through its Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) has passed a bill to institutionalize the program into twice a year activity.
“More than this as a pre-calamity activity, we want to put this into a law to continue to provide help for the people. It maybe temporary but still this will provide them employment,” Chevylle Fariňas, city mayor said.
On its launching day, the city has provided a task force from the barangay officials, city employees, volunteers and also city officials who personally led the cleaning, dredging and clearing of the canals and other waterways.
After the first wave of the campaign, about 475 cubic meters equivalent to 95 dump truck loads of various debris have been cleared from the city’s waterways.
This, according to Fariňas, is a way to resolve the upsurge of flooding in the city and encourage the Laoagueños to protect the environment.
More so, the program is a resurgence of the once presumed dying “Bayanihan” system, a show of unity and oneness of the people of the barangays.
“After all, this trait has propelled Laoag City to become a Hall of Fame awardee in the Cleanest, Greenest, and Safest component city in the entire country.” said Ramon Formantes, the city’s public information officer. PNA/northboundasia.com