TACLOBAN CITY –The Department of Tourism (DOT) has forged partnership with four colleges in this storm-ravaged city to clean up parks wrecked by supertyphoon Yolanda last year.
About 100 students taking up tourism-related studies at the Asian Development Foundation College, Eastern Visayas State University, Leyte Normal University, and ABE College were listed as beneficiaries in the implementation of the DOT’s cash-for-work program dubbed as tourism students’ welfare program.
DOT Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said the program will run until the end of semester, covering major parks in the city damaged by the supertyphoon.
“We tap students to clean up parks in the city to increase their appreciation of our local tourism destinations. This will also augment the income of their families whose livelihood were affected by the supertyphoon,” Tiopes said.
Participating students receive P260 daily stipend and P80 meal allowance for a total of P340. The students work every Saturday and Sunday, the day they receive their pay.
Rica Mae Davin, 17, a 2nd year Hotel and Restaurant Technology student of EVSU said the program would help ensure that she will be able to continue her study this school year.
“Aside from earning, we are also helping the city restore the sense of normalcy by clearing storm debris scattered in parks,” said Davin, whose father’s income from self-employment was reduced after the storm.
The 100 students were divided into two groups to render a park clean-up work during Saturdays and Sundays. The two teams will work on alternative weekends starting February 22 until the ends of the academic year on May 2014.
Maria Cristina Caintic, dean of EVSU’s College of Technology said only students from poor families along Yolanda’s path were listed as program beneficiaries.
The initiative kicked on February 22 at the Madonna of Japan along the city’s Magsaysay Boulevard. The park fronting the Cancabato Bay is a former encampment site of Japanese soldiers in World War II.
Identified as priority sites for clean up are Family Park and the Balyuan Park, both located along Magsaysay Boulevard.
The DOT asked the Leyte provincial government under Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla to provide heavy equipment for the removal of uprooted trees and other debris. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)