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Clean and green for ASEAN 2015

She started on a part-time house helper job this year after a long, long period of unemployment and now Rosalyn Penafiel has another work prospect, a rare second job.

Penafiel was interviewed last April about her expectations on the ASEAN 2015, or the regional market integration for a larger, freer, updated regional trade bloc community. Three months ago, like most others, she zeroed in on the chance of better-paying jobs once ASEAN is functioning as a single market, much like the European Union.

Today, with 2015 still five months away, she’s more hopeful that her family’s income situation will improve even before market integration is in full swing.

“Naghahanap ngayon ng maraming sweeper, meron alok sa akin (They’re looking for [street] sweepers, I have a job offer),” she said.

The Philippines’ “clean and green” campaign was initiated 23 years ago starting with small mining and toxic wastes disposal and working its way up until the Clean Air Act of 1999. However, enforcement of the environmental law is another thing.

With ASEAN integration, the government has stepped up its efforts to show the world that the country is serious in implementing environmental laws, it’s a requirement after all, before joining the ASEAN Economic Community.

Penafiel is happy that she has an opportunity to earn extra, albeit it is only a short-term contractual work. The street sweeper job will only be for three months and if it pushes through, she will be paid a minimum of P428 daily except on weekends.

“Dapat lang kasi pagandahin ang lugar natin at nakakahiya mga kalat at basura (We should clean up our garbage, it’s an embarrassment),” she said.

Penafiel said she has neighbors being offered the same short-term work and word is, her city might recruit more to help in the “clean and green” campaign.

Back in April, the mother of four has no idea what ASEAN is. Three months later, she says she has had some talks with her neighbors about the regional grouping and she’s proud to note that she has a better understanding of what it’s all about.

“Biro mo, sa  ilang taon di ko na alam, wala akong trabaho. Ngayon, makakadalawa pa nyan. Magtuloy-tuloy na sana ito (For so many years I have no work. Now, I get a chance to get two. I hope this will go on for some time),” said Penafiel, a High School graduate.

Penafiel’s community is covered under the government’s conditional cash transfer program. She receives P2,200 every two months. This, on top of her job prospects, has increased her hope for a better life for her small children.