Davao City – The Regional Branch unceasingly extended its support to the advocacy of empowering people in this time of pandemic by endorsing the programs and projects implemented by other government agencies.

Employees of the Branch attended the online policy advocacy event hosted by the Institute of Labor Studies, an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), last November 10, 2021 via Zoom. The seminar entitled “Katutubo sa Krisis ng Covid-19: Mga Kwento ng Ayuda at Bayanihan sa Gitna ng Pandemya” showcased the livelihood grant of DOLE to the affected Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in terms of employment, livelihood, and overall living conditions through case stories. It also highlighted ways the pandemic disrupted the delivery of programs and services to IPs at the local level and the actions taken by the government and other stakeholders in ensuring continuity.

Director Aerrine Marie R. Reyes explained the Branch’s learnings for this seminar. “We saw that the pandemic has really impacted the IPs, many of them lost their jobs as agribusiness chains were adversely affected. Even the assistance from the government and even private organizations were delayed or only delivered after much difficulty. Hence, we should be more understanding and show a lot more empathy towards IPs. Let us support policies, movements or activities that shall strengthen and empower them.” Reyes stated.

Another activity that the Branch participated is the seminar entitled “Sustaining Courage in the Midst of Suffering” last October 29, 2021. The webinar was co-organized by International Labor Affairs Bureau, Institute for Labor Studies, Planning Service, Human Resource Development Service, and the DOLE Prayer Group as a way to promote mental health and wellness among employees.

Anti-Red Tape Authority Director General Jeremiah Belgica, resource speaker of this seminar, gave inspiring messages and quoted biblical stories showing courage despite adversity. As he stressed in the story of David and Goliath “Your LION experience and your BEFORE experience are there to prepare you for GOLIATH experience.”

The chairman of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, Sec. Greco Belgica, provided his testimony as a survivor of a critical-stage covid case. He ended his testimony with words non-verbatim “I was feeling it the whole time, he (God) gave me confidence to survive.”

Lastly, prayers were observed during the webinar to provide spiritual encouragement to the audience. Gary B. Bonghanoy