If the people cannot come to government, then let the government come to the people, to rephrase a Middle Eastern proverb.
This was what the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) of Caraga Region, in collaboration with Butuan, did when it ushered in the “RCC on wheels” in the service of the people on March 13 in Butuan under the slogan, “Serbisyong DOLE sa inyong tugkaran” which is translated in English as “DOLE services right at your doorsteps.”
RCC is actually composed of a cluster of agencies such as the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), Overseas Workers’ Welfare Agency (OWWA), Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), Philippine Regulatory Commission (PRC), Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as the lead or umbrella agency.
DOLE Regional Director Ofelia B. Domingo pointed out to 500 attendees of the event that the rationale behind the RCC on wheels, “is to bring the services of the government, particularly the DOLE family, closer to the people, with emphasis on those who are needy. The aim of our services,” she divulged further, “is to actually help alleviate poverty in convergence with the local government unit.”
Ferdinand M. Amante Jr., city mayor here, was happy to note that the purposes of the RCC are in conjunction with his intent of addressing the critical and prevailing problems suffered by his constituents – which zeroed in on livelihood and employment concerns.
With high hopes, he believed that the problems would gradually be untangled “in the spirit of convergence.” He shared that the most challenging concern so far facing his administration is, “the plan to relocate the more than 4,500 families who are still living near the river banks.” He said that, “their needs can only be addressed in a holistic approach,” and not in a piecemeal manner. With this framework in mind, he called in the concerned cluster of agencies to help carry the burden via a unified, convergent manner.
After his keynote message, the executives of the different agencies involved presented their respective programs, projects, and activities for the people’s information and appreciation.
Regional Director Edwin C. Gatinao of TESDA Caraga hammered in his agency’s latest thrust, which is about the TESDA Specialista Technopreneurship Program (TSTP). He announced that “TESDA has bankrolled no less than a half million pesos as scholarship package for the constituents of Mayor Amante.”
In conjunction with this, he was joined by Provincial Director Florencio F. Sunico Jr. of TESDA Agusan del Norte, who detailed that TSTP “primarily addresses tech-voc graduates – particularly the 40 percent who still have to find employment – to develop an enterprise of their own. Most importantly, it is designed to be an enterprise development model for communities with the mission to help TESDA-certified graduates to get into productive undertakings to help themselves and their communities.”
As an example, he called on three TSTP groups to be recognized, awarded with kits, and vests. The East Butuan Small Construction Workers Association, he explained, is a TSTP group – composed of masons, plumbers, electricians, painters, and even welders – that engages in building construction, repair, and maintenance. The second TSTP group, which is the Butuan Body Care Services Association, engages into beauty care and wellness such as massage, pedicure, manicure, etc. The third TSTP group, which is the Caraga Appliance Repair and Maintenance Association, engages in repair and maintenance of appliances and other electronic gadgets such as air-condition, electric fan, etc. Mayor Amante awarded them with starter kits which they can use for productive pursuits.
Director Marietta Bellotindos of POEA likewise shared that present “during the RCC on wheels service caravan are the 10 accredited and legal recruitment agencies available the whole day that dangle a total of 16,282 job orders to include both domestic and international opportunities.”
Winding up, Mayor Amante disclosed that “Butuan by the River” will be turned into a place to go as it will be incorporated later with the restaurants and other amusement enterprises in the area. He then wished that his constituents will become “wealthy and happy people . . . with good livelihood and a better future." (NCLM/PIA-CARAGA/TESDA-Agusan del Norte)