Following the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing between the UNI Asia & Pacific Regional Organization (UNI Apro) and the Korea Financial Industry Foundation (KFIF) to support social solidarity projects in Nepal and the Philippines, a KFIF delegation comprising Mr Shim Young-Min, KFIF General Secretary, Ms Lee Ji-yun, KFIF Project Director, supported by Ms Jay Choi, UNI Apro Korea Desk Director, visited the Philippines to witness the official opening of the Payatas Training and Livelihood Center (PTLC) on 22 November 2022.
The Payatas is an administrative division of Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, home to more than one hundred and thirty thousand residents, many of whom live below the poverty line and in harsh conditions. The National Union of Bank Employees-Insurance Financial Organization (NUBE-IFO), a UNI affiliate, has implemented food and scholarship outreach programs for the residents and children in the area for over a decade. The cooperation MOU between UNI Apro and the KFIF made possible the development and opening of a vocational and technical training center that contributes to the area’s growth and increases opportunities for residents to achieve a decent livelihood.
Witnessed by 100 Payatas residents, the opening ceremony was jointly officiated by Mr Shim Young-Min, Ms Lee Ji-yun, officials from the local implementing union partner, Mr Rainer Cruz, NUBE-IFO President and Mr Ronnie Magat, NUBE-IFO Chairman of the Board, supported by UNI Apro staff, Ms Michelle Belino and Ms Jay Choi, and with government officials, politicians, NGO representative comprising Atty Bong Teodoro, District 2 Action Officer, Quezon City Congressman Ralph Tulfo, Atty. Olivia Obrero-Samson, DOLE Makati OIC Director, Ms Rose Dadulo, President of KABALIN, Atty Bong Teodoro, District 2 Action Officer, Quezon City, Mr. Florante Clarita, Overall Admin, Barangay Payatas, PCPT Roldan Dapat Mobile Patrol Unit Chief PCP Commander PS13 QCPD.
Mr Rainer Cruz, NUBE-IFO National President, recalled in his opening speech about NUBE’s 17 years of activities in Payatas,
“Our goal then was to improve the image of trade unions by doing whatever we can to help the vulnerable children and families in the area infamously known for its garbage mountains. Today’s official opening marks a big step forward for us. We can now realise our vision of equipping and providing the residents, especially the women in Payatas, with an alternative source of livelihood that is more decent and humane.”
Mr Shim Young-Min, KFIF General Secretary, said,
“As a public interest foundation jointly funded and operated by the financial unions and management in Korea, we actively support projects that contribute to the fulfilment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I am proud that our support for the Payatas project contributes to this objective. I am very hopeful that the Payatas Training and Livelihood Center, with the cooperation of the government and local social partners, will help the residents access more new job opportunities and contribute to the local economy.”
Josue Grajo, one of the trainer facilitators, explained during a tour of the facilities that the PTLC is registered as an official training program course with TESDA, the government department responsible for technical education and technology development in the Philippines. Trainees can access TESDA-supported courses such as recyclables recycling, sewing skills, and computer use skills. The center will provide additional training like bag making and production. Upon completing their training, the trainees will be more skilled in transforming recyclable items from dump sites into saleable products such as bags, slippers, and wallets.
Atty. Olivia Obrero-Samson from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), highly appreciative of the international support of the Payatas project, promised to assist in the sales and marketing efforts of the products to members of the Makati Industrial Peace Council and various trade affairs. Congressman Ralph Tulfo, who has a reputation for supporting the vulnerable group for years, expressed hope that the project will contribute to eliminating poverty in the area and be further extended to other regions of the Philippines.
UNI Apro Regional Secretary Rajendra Acharya paid tribute to the social partners involved,
“I am delighted that the Payatas training center has finally come to fruition. I am thankful to all the partners involved, the KFIF, the Philippines government labor and training departments, and the NUBE-IFO, which put in years of effort. The work to make the center a reality expressed the best of our trade union values of empowerment, inclusion, and social dialogue.”
UNI Asia & Pacific