DOT, DSWD distributes aid to tourism workers in Davao Oriental

DAVAO CITY—The Department of Tourism led by Sec. Christina Garcia Frasco and the Department of Social Welfare and Development oversaw the distribution of “Bayanihan Sa Bukas na May Pag-asa para sa Turismo” (BBMT) assistance package on Monday (May 27) at the Davao Oriental Provincial Capitol in Mati City.

BBMT is a joint initiative that aims to provide immediate support to displaced tourism stakeholders in times of crisis. It can be recalled that Davao Region was affected by Trough of the LPA (Low Pressure Area) and Shearline early this year which resulted to flooding and  landslides across the region.

The BBMT program has benefitted 1,301 displaced tourism workers from various establishments and destinations in the region, which provided training and support to help them recover. Specifically targeting municipalities in Davao Oriental and Davao de Oro, the aid has reached workers in different roles such as resort staff, lifeguards, and other service providers.

“Our tourism workers are the heart and soul of Philippine tourism, tungod ninyo naay kasing-kasing ang turismo sa Pilipinas, mao na naa mi kaninyo karon, alang sa pagpahibawo kaninyo na dili lamang kita sa panahon sa paglipay magkauban kundi ang importante sa tanan sa panahon sa pagkalisod,” Sec. Frasco said.

(Because of you the tourism in the Philippines has a heart that is why we are here with you to let you know that we are not just with you during times of happiness but importantly during times of hardship.)

For the DOT emergency cash transfer payout, the 725 beneficiaries in Davao Oriental and 41 recipients in Davao del Norte received P9,960 each. While the 514 beneficiaries in Davao de Oro got P4,980 each. The DOT emergency cash transfer payout has 1,283 beneficiaries with P10.2 million allocated to them for the cash assistance.

Davao Oriental Governor Niño Sotero Uy said the calamities in Davao Oriental hindered the recovery efforts in the province as they were bouncing back from the pandemic.

“However as we were making strides towards economic recovery, we were once again faced with challenges brought about by natural and manmade disasters. Despite all of this challenges we have exhausted all of our efforts to provide initial aid to affected families. That is why we have conducted relief distribution to the 193 barangays in the province to ensure that all of our families could have a meal at their table during this hardships,” Governor Uy said in his speech.

The Governor thanked the national government through the DSWD and the DOT for these interventions in assisting the affected sectors in the province.

“Your support to our province is a lifeline for all of us,” the Governor said.

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian said the initiative is a whole-of-government approach with agencies working together to help the people in the region recover.

“Hindi lang isang departamento ang kikilos kundi dalawang departamento (not just one department working but two departments)  in this case ang Department of Tourism at Department of Social Welfare and Development,” Sec. Gatchalian said.

The DSWD Secretary also emphasized that tourism workers should also be included as beneficiaries of government assistance citing their role in the Philippine economy.

“Dahil ang mga tourism workers natin ang propeller hindi lang ng Davao Oriental kundi ng national economy natin and natutuwa kami na magiging partner na namin ang DOT, so everytime magkakaroon ng natural disasters, nag-usap kami ni Secretrary Frasco gagamitin natin itong template,” Sec. Gatchalian said.

(Because our tourism workers are our propellers not just for Davao Oriental but the national economy and we are glad that the DOT will be our partner, so everytime a natural disaster would occur, as we’ve discussed with Secretary Frasco, we will use this as a template.) (RVC/RGA/PIA11)