Gov't releases P448M to help displaced Boracay workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 27) — The government has released the budget to assist over 17,000 registered workers in Boracay who were displaced by the temporary closure of the famous island.

The budget department on Friday said P448 million were turned over to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to cover the financial assistance for the affected employees.

The funds will be used for emergency employment and livelihood as well as training programs for them during the six-month shutdown and rehabilitation of the island.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the funds came from the P13 billion Contingent Fund in the 2018 General Appropriations Act.

This is separate from the P2 billion calamity fund which will be used to help both registered and informal workers in Boracay. There are some 17,000 informal workers — masseuses, tour guides, sandcastle makers, and the like — on the island.

These displaced workers trooped to the Social Welfare Center hoping to get help on leaving the island so they could look for livelihood in other provinces. Many are cash-strapped and rely on the government for their ticket out of Boracay.

The social welfare department said they had enough funds to help all displaced workers.

CNN Philippines' AC Nicholls contributed to this report.