THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said it will require P500 million to provide livelihood assistance to workers affected by the Mindanao earthquakes.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said in a statement Tuesday that he has just visited Davao City, one of the affected areas struck by the Magnitude 6.6 and 6.5 earthquakes in Mindanao. He added that the P200-million fund currently on tap for worker assistance might not be enough.

“We may need more than P500 million to cover all those needing assistance and emergency employment in the affected areas,” he said.

Last week, DoLE reported that it sent labor officials and inspectors to assess the damage to workplaces in the area.

The financial aid will go towards emergency employment for workers displaced by the earthquake. The aid will also support livelihood assistance for workers in the informal sector.

Mr. Bello said in the meantime, the P200 million will be used to cover all these needs. He has also called on the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to create a calamity fund for families for OFW members who are affected by the earthquake.

“The OWWA board has decided to give P3,000 per family of OFW in the areas hit by the earthquake, so, for those who have OFW relatives, please tell them that they are entitled to financial assistance from OWWA,” Mr. Bello said. — Gillian M. Cortez