DOLE readies aid for 250,000 workers affected by COVID-19 quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   March 18, 2020   •   3302

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday said it is rolling out financial assistance program for workers affected by the enhanced community quarantine being enforced in Luzon amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that under the P1.3-billion COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), each worker in private establishments will receive P5,000 in cash assistance to be processed through the beneficiary’s payroll accounts.

Bello said 250,000 workers are expected to benefit from the program.

DOLE’s Department Order No. 209, which covers the guidelines for CAMP, states that workers covered by the program include retained workers having reduced working hours due to the implementation of flexible working arrangements by employers, and workers whose employment has been suspended due to the temporary shutdown of their employer’s operation.

Affected workers, regardless of employment status, will receive the one-time unconditional financial assistance in lump-sum, the guidelines stated.

In addition, DOLE will also give affected workers employment facilitation services to match their skills with available local or overseas jobs.

The department said the assistance will be given within two weeks upon the receipt of their application by DOLE regional offices.

Employers are also required to submit a report on their efforts to scale down their operations due to COVID-19 such as adopting flexible working arrangements like work from home, reduced working hours, among others.

The CAMP program does not cover government employees.

DOLE also said that an emergency employment assistance amounting to P180-million will be given to informal sector workers under the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD).

“Effective immediately, we are rolling out a P180-million emergency employment program under TUPAD for some 18,000 informal sector workers and the P1.3-billion COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) to benefit about 250,000 workers,” Bello said in a statement.

The labor chief said the initial allocation for TUPAD will pay for barangay works to disinfect the communities, while CAMP represents financial assistance to the quarantine displaced workers.

“We shall undertake other such measures that may be necessary to help mitigate the impact of the current global health emergency,” he said.

At the same time, Bello echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s appeal to big businesses to give their share in these trying times.

“I particularly make this appeal to the owners and managements of Filipino conglomerates like SM, Ayala, Yuchengco, Aboitiz, Metro Pacific, SMC, Summit, Villar and similar groups of companies who can very well take care of their workers and employees for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine,” he said.

“Again, we earnestly request the big employers to financially help their employees to tide them over during this public emergency,” he added.

Bello also reiterated the government’s appeal to all workers to “cooperate with the government and their employers to implement the necessary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.”

The Philippines has been placed under a state of calamity due to rising coronavirus infections.

President Rodrigo Duterte also placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine until April 12 to combat the spread of the virus.

To date, the country has 187 confirmed cases with 14 deaths and four recovered cases.

DFA suspends operations of Consular Office in Tuguegarao City

Marje Pelayo   •   January 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday (January 20) announced the temporary closure of its Consular Office in Tuguegarao (CO Tuguegarao) while the city is under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

DFA CO Tuguegarao will be closed from January 20 to 29 pursuant to Executive Order 14 s. 2021.

CO Tuguegarao will resume its regular operations on Monday, February 1.

Affected applicants with confirmed appointments who are unable to avail of consular services due to the suspension of operations must secure another appointment by emailing tuguegarao.rco@dfa.gov.ph with the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Original appointment date and time
  • Preferred date and time of new appointment

The preferred new appointment may be on any working day (Monday to Friday) from February 1, 2021 to March 1, 2021 during the CO’s regular operation hours from 9:00AM to 4:00PM.

Applicants who need emergency or urgent consular services may contact CO Tuguegarao by email at tuguegarao.rco@dfa.gov.ph.

400K OFWs sent home during pandemic — DOLE

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 20, 2021

Manila, Philippines — Over 400,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been sent home since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

As of January 16, the Labor Department records a total of 410,211 repatriates who have undergone quarantine and were cleared of COVID-19.

“After their ordeal in their country of origin, our dear OFWs were all provided accommodation, food, transportation, and cash assistance by the government. Now, they are safely home with their families,” DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.

The latest figures from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration showed that 8,273 OFWs were transported to their respective provinces last week.

An estimate of 60,000 to 80,000 more OFWs are expected to be repatriated this year, according to reports from the various Philippine Overseas Labor Offices of DOLE. AAC

Tuguegarao City reverts to ECQ after surge in COVID-19 cases

Marje Pelayo   •   January 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The city of Tuguegarao has been placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) again starting January 20 until January 29.

The latest restriction came after 81 new active cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection were reported in only one day.

The new tally raised alarm among local government officials due to the continuous spike in COVID-19 cases in the city following the holiday season.

In an interview, Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano said the number of cases was manageable for the first few days of January. The number surged, however, starting January 16 thus the change in their decision.

Governor Manuel Mamba of Cagayan, meanwhile, joined Soriano in endorsing to the regional Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) the imposition of ECQ for Tuguegarao City.

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