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ROUGH CUTS: A program that needs to be sustained

THIS COMING Monday, August 31, 2020, the eighth month of the year will end. Because of so many holidays we had the opportunity to be visited by two of our children who are in Davao City while we are virtually in isolation in our rural residence in a barangay some 31 kilometers from the city proper. Yes, because of the twice monthly changing category of the quarantine imposed on certain areas while the country is being gripped by the deadly coronavirus disease (CoViD 19) pandemic, we and our wife have to stay in our house in the farm area.

Both of us are already in our senior citizenship and per health protocols issued by the government in this time of the health emergency we are restricted from going out of residence except when it is extremely necessary.In our personal case we remain a working senior although our work as a columnist in this paper does not require us to report to the office if we have the needed communications transmittal facility like the e-mail system.

Unfortunately we still do not have it in the boondock. We only have it in our residence in Catalunan Grande. So in order to be able to submit our article to the editorial office we have to come down to the urban area so we can email our column.

This way we are able to skip meeting more people and instead limit our interaction with our children who are residing in the city’s periphery.

Yes, we have to keep ourselves busy in our rural abode. So other than doing our usual job of writing our column we have to help the woman of the house in her new-found affair with ornamental plants.  Our two children and two grandkids visited us last week and stayed in the house since last Friday and only returned to our Catalunan Grande residence last Tuesday morning.

\Somehow we and the wife got accustomed to the many moving bodies inside the house and long for the children’s next visit. So, we got hold of a calendar and checked when the next holidays are coming. And it was only while doing such that we noticed that the month of August which is about to end has five Saturdays and 5 Sundays.

By then we were reminded of an article we read in one publication. It said that an August with 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays happens only every 823 years. Therefore, the last time that this phenomenon happened was 823 years ago.

For many of us who believe in luck it would not be surprising if we make our next move relative to the phenomenon by consulting the Chinese luck determinant – Feng Shui.

For certain the experts on this belief can easily share a meaning to everyone who desires for it. It’s up to those concerned whether they’ll take the meaning by heart or ignore it. We never know.
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Well, maybe without even knowing, or having encountered tales of an August with 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays, some of us Davaoenos have already received our share of the luck that has been brought by the unusual August phenomenon.
Yes, they are the 20 thousand or so who have already benefited from the city government’s Work for Davao Program (WDP) while the economy of the city is crippled by the CoViD 19 pandemic.

The Work for Davao Program was launched by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to help a significant number of people who lost their means of living while the city has undergone into enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), and later to general community quarantine (GCQ), and further into a more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

The WDP is designed to provide livelihood support to workers in the entertainment, tourism, food, construction, and fitness industry sectors. These sectors have registered the most number of people affected by the pandemic and are far from being allowed, fully or partially, to operate again.

So, according to the mayor their members’ plight deserves to be closely looked into and assistance given to see them through the remainder of the pandemic months.

Under the program the city has allocated a budget of about P160 million. The money will not be used as direct dole out to the affected sectors but the prospective beneficiaries have to work for some city projects in order to earn it.

The scheme to us is very rewarding. Yes, rewarding not only to the beneficiaries but to the city as well since the work done by the beneficiaries in exchange of the cash accomplishes for the city certain objectives.

For now, according to a report rendered by the program implementing unit, the city has already released to some 20,000 people who participated in the WDP a total of P80 million. In other words, if the city does not make a repeat hiring of those who have earlier availed of the program, then another 20 thousand more individuals from the crippled industry sectors herein-mentioned will be able to earn some cash.

For us, it is programs like the Work for Davao that need to be sustained and provided reasonable funding by the government – local or national. Such a program works both for the government and the people in times like this, or even without the pandemic.

As we said earlier, in the case of the WDP the city gets some of its projects done even under the prevailing emergency situation. And the people who benefited from the program earned their keeps without losing their dignity. After all, they did not receive the money as a pure product of charity. They did not beg for it but exerted substantial efforts to have the money transferred into their hands and finally in their dining table.

Moreover, it is this kind of program that carries less chances of manipulation and technically siphoning of government funds.
Why, because the parameters of employment cum participation is well-defined; payrolls are done and warm bodies are visible, and accountability is limited to a few; thus easily established when needs arise.

Let this Work for Davao Program be an example for other LGUs in the country to emulate, and if acceptable, for the national government. Many would have heaped admiration instead of complaints and critical insinuations.

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