ORMOC City, Philippines– The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) together with the International Labor Organization will hold job fairs in Eastern Visayas in order to provide jobs to  at least 100,000 workers who are among the 5.9 million displaced by Typhoon  Yolanda.

The job fair was first conducted in Ormoc City where more than 1,700 people attended and 171 were hired on the spot. Another 970 were qualified but their applications need to be processed further, according to ILO team leader Frances Fierst.

“About 3 million affected workers were employed in the service sector when the typhoon struck on November. Over one third of them, or roughly 1.9 million workers, were in agriculture, and around 16 per cent in the industry sector,” Fierst explained.

Over 20,000 workers who lost their livelihoods are taking part in this program, rebuilding the communities while working in decent and safe conditions.

“Initiatives such as the job fair and efforts of local businesses to rebuild local employment and to restore livelihoods complement the emergency employment programs that the ILO, together with the government, is helping to implement,”, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines Lawrence Jeff Johnson said.

“Ensuring decent work for one person can support an entire family and boost the local economy. This means we would have changed the lives of 100,000 people by the end of this year,” Johnson added.

Johnson stated that ILO’s approach goes beyond an immediate short-term emergency employment.

He said that the program will be a transition to medium-term labor-based community work, skills training and enterprise development.

Moreover, ILO stressed that the disaster has brought death and destruction to the Philippines, but the reconstruction phase is an opportunity to build back better and ensure that people are not left vulnerable or exploited.

“The job fair is a great way for the government to reach out and assist this specific group of affected workers,” an ILO official said.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the DOLE will hold job fairs in Tacloban in the first week of January 2014.

Baldoz said that in addition to local employment opportunities, POEA also provide information about the challenges of working abroad, including tips on avoiding illegal recruiters and traffickers.