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

Robie de Guzman   •   March 18, 2020   •   3473

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.

Over 67,000 displaced tourism workers in NCR Plus receive P5,000 cash aid

Marje Pelayo   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 67,347 tourism workers displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area will receive P5,000 cash assistance from the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

In a statement released by the DOT, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III agreed to provide cash assistance to the said sector workers in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

Of the said number, 6,817 beneficiaries are in Bulacan, 8,422 in Cavite, 14,161 in Laguna, 10,582 in Rizal, and 27,365 in the NCR.

The total disbursements amount to over P336.7 million as of April 6.

In today’s online awarding of certificates, around P41.2 million pesos were given to 8,251 recognized beneficiaries of the DOT-DOLE cash assistance program, broken down as follow:

NCR – 2,199
Bulacan – 901
Cavite – 924
Laguna – 2,490
Rizal – 1,737

“We are hopeful that this financial assistance will provide some relief to our most affected stakeholders and tourism workers during these difficult times. While it may help in the short term, we believe that the best way to help stakeholders, in the long run, is to develop a tourism industry that is stronger, more resilient, and more adaptable to change,” Puyat said in her opening remarks.

DOLE Secretary Bello added that the labor department will continuously provide assistance to the tourism workers despite the increasing odds brought by the pandemic.

“Rest assured that DOLE will always give its full support to our workers in need. In the coming months, as we start to put our economy on its track, we hope that our tourism stakeholders will get back on their feet, stronger than before,” he said.

Issued in February, the DOT-DOLE Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2021-001 (Amended Implementing Guidelines on Providing Financial Assistance and Cash-For-Work Program for Displaced Workers in the Tourism Sector) expanded its coverage of beneficiaries including Local Government-Licensed Tourism Support Service (TSS) enterprises, providers and associations of providers.

Duterte still weighing pros and cons on quarantine classification of NCR+ area

Maris Federez   •   April 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to make up his mind on whether to extend or lift the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status imposed on Metro Manila and four nearby provinces Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

In a statement released on Saturday night, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the president is still “weighing the pros and cons before making his final decision regarding the quarantine classification of the National Capital Region Plus Area.”

Roque said that Duterte wanted to review and check pertinent information such as the Health Care Utilization Rate (HCUR) in the said areas.

“We shall provide the necessary notice once everything has been made final,” Roque added.

In a text message send to Malacañang reporters, Roque said the president is set to resume his “Talk to the People” on Monday.

The NCR Plus area had been placed under ECQ since March 29. It was supposed to last until April 4. The president, however, ordered an extension of the ECQ until April 11.

DOLE to open 5,000 contact tracer jobs for NCR Plus

Marje Pelayo   •   April 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is set to hire around 5,000 contact tracers as part of its emergency employment assistance program.

The job vacancy will be opened next week once the details of the application are finalized between DOLE and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Salary will be based on regional wage rate. So for National Capital Region (NCR), each contact tracer will receive a minimum wage per day of P537 or around P16,000 per month.

Atty. Ma. Karina Trayvilla, director of DOLE – Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) said successful applicants will be provided training for the job but the base requirements would be basic knowledge in telephone and internet service.

“Ang gusto po sana nating ma-hire dito ay ang ating mga nasa informal settlers at iyong mga na-displaced po sa trabaho,” Trayvilla said adding that they are also pushing to hire high school graduates since they already have the skills.

The official said the government targets to achieve the ideal ratio of one contact tracer per 800 population to effectively conduct contact tracing activities.

Interested individuals may apply before the DOLE’s Public Employment Service offices.

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