From GMA to PNoy’s label in DPWH’s grass-cutting workers project, why not?, says DavNor ADE

SEPT. 9-15, 2010

You still see them employed by the public works department cutting grasses along national highways, but they are only up to the coming December 31.

However, Davao del Norte public works assistant district engineer Liberato Tan is batting that the road maintenance project employing thousands of grass-cutting unemployed introduced by former President Arroyo should be sustained by President Benigno Aquino III.

He said that it would only take President Aquino to re-name the project that would promote his name this time around like what Arroyo did during her time.

“Project OYSTER is really beneficial as it has given livelihood to thousands of unemployed,” Tan said.

OYSTER stands for Out-of-School Youth Serving Towards Economic Recovery. In its launching in 2009, it was billed as Arroyo’s P1.77-billion emergency employment program targeting to maintain some 30,000 kms of national roads nationwide.

The DPWH earlier reported that the project hired 59,968 workers from Luzon, 14,120 in Visayas and 19,120 workers in Mindanao.

But it was used by ex-President Arroyo to promote herself by supplying the grass-cutting workers with blue t-shirts emblazoned with GMA name bold enough to allow motorists and passengers in hihways to capture and read it in passing seconds.

At present,  the over 93,000 Oyster laborers throughout the country are still employed at present but only until December 31, 2010 after Malacanang extended the project last October 31.

“The Oyster workers were supposedly had to stop working on that day but the workers’ families were so happy to know then that President Noynoy extended the project at least until the Christmastime,” Tan said.

The Davao del Norte engineering district has 58 Oyster workers while there are some 500 Oyster workers throughout Region XI.

Each of its Oyster worker, on a job-order status of employment, earns a wage of P231 per day of government working days.

The wage falls short to the region’s minimum daily wage of P279 to generate more employment.

The Oyster workers are tasked to perform road maintenance activities such as grass-cutting, clearing/cleaning of canals, patching potholes, vegetation control and beautification, street sweeping. and other tentative road maintenance works. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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