DOLE readies aid for 250,000 workers affected by COVID-19 quarantine
Robie de Guzman • March 18, 2020 • 2912
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.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday (August 4) reported that more than 120,000 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW) are now back in their respective provinces.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that according to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administratio (OWWA), the department has assisted and sent home 122,369 OFWs since May.
“We will not get tired of assisting our returning OFWs, and facilitate their transport to the provinces and be with their families. This is just a small way to repay their enormous contribution to our country,” Bello said.
The labor chief also said that the labor department has almost exhausted the P2.5-billion AKAP assistance fund being extended to both on-site and repatriated OFWs affected by the pandemic. AAC
Consumers in Metro Manila flocked to grocery stores after President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night, approved the reversion of some areas to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in response to the medical frontliners’ plea for a two-week “timeout”.
This prompted Malacañang on Monday to remind the public not to panic buy amid the implementation of MECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“Walang dahilan para mag-panic buying. Supplies are high, delivered in supermarkets in anticipation of bigger demand prior to MECQ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
The Palace official reiterated that only essential establishments will remain open including supermarkets, banks, and hospitals. He also said that the “time out” will be used to strengthen the government’s testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19.
“This is primarily to accede to the demand of the frontliners for a break. A ‘time out,'” Roque said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)
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