Once dubbed as Asia’s 24/7 island, life is in every corner of the island day and night. But to give way for Boracay’s rehabilitation
, the once restless destination was shut down for tourists since April 26. The shutdown of tourism activities in Boracay has paralyzed the operation of a number of businesses on the island. As a result, thousands have also lost their jobs, some even their homes, source of income, and revenue for the island.
Yet, in times of crisis, the resilient spirit in us always lives on. Despite the heavy burden of the closure, people in Boracay continue to look at the brighter side of the situation, and honing skills for job opportunities. So how people cope with the crisis?
Skill development and training
When the island was still open, rest is a luxury since people seem to be working almost every day, much more on holidays. Holidays mean more income since visitors from other places flock to the island. The closure, though, became a chance for people to finally have a break and hone their skills through training.
Residents and displaced workers had the opportunity to train on various livelihood skills offered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). TESDA offers practical training activities such as cake making, dressmaking, and massage therapy among others. The opportunity will allow them to have national certificates from TESDA for future employment . Even training on lifeguarding are also being offered. Aside from TESDA, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also offered training which can be a viable source of income for people when the island opens.
Residents of the three barangays in Boracay and those who belong to the informal sectors like the boatmen, vendors, massage therapists, tour guides, and even who rely only on their small businesses were the most affected after the closure. To allow them to still earn even without tourists, they were given livelihood grants by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Each qualified beneficiaries were given P15,000 as capital for the micro-enterprise they would start. With the livelihood grant, a family can already start a small sari-sari (convenience) store or barbeque station .
Cash for work
Aside from the livelihood grant, alternative jobs are also offered. Both DSWD and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) are offering Cash for Work programs. Those enrolled in the Cash for Work will receive a minimum wage daily for 30 days . These workers are assigned to help in the cleanup operation in different areas of the island to help fast-track the rehabilitation activities here. Other workers are assigned to help with technical work .
Affected micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on the island also use the closure period to improve their business and develop new products. One example is Pinay Boracay, a group composed of the women in the community. The group is being trained by various government agencies including the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Department of Agriculture (DA) to improve their organic products as well as for its promotion .
Even in times of crisis, people in the island also continue to volunteer their time to help the community. It’s an opportunity for those who don’t have time before to finally join some local activities on the island, like cleanup and planting activities. Local organizations such as the Philippine Red Cross gather volunteers to conduct art therapy and psychosocial support to members of the community .