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

Robie de Guzman   •   March 18, 2020   •   1189

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.

Iloilo City also extends ECQ until April 30

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 8, 2020

The Iloilo City government has also extended its enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to April 30.

According to Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas, the ECQ extension is to further prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the area.

“After due consultation with the doctors, our city health office, our focal person, the Department of Health (DOH), and some other business in Iloilo City I have decided to extend the period up to April 30,” he said.

Treñas recommended all residents to stay home and wait for the relief packs from the government.

Based on the recent report of the DOH, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the area reached 36 in Western Visayas, four of them are from Iloilo City. AAC (with reports from Lalaine Moreno)

CHED: Tuition refund at the discretion of private schools and universities

Marje Pelayo   •   April 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Some businesses have opted give refunds for their services due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

According to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), private universities may opt to refund or return the students’ tuition fees due to the changes in the school calendar while lockdown remains in effect.

For instance, Ateneo de Manila University has decided to end their current term on May 8 and all students, regardless of their class standing, will be given passing grades.

Students will receive P20,000 tuition fee refund plus 60 percent of the laboratory fee.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, meanwhile, noted the huge effect of the ECQ on the country’s trade sector as they had to defer a number of trade expos where local products are supposed to be offered.

The Department of Trade and Industry, nonetheless, is confident that these events will push through in the near future.

Hindi naman siya totally cancelled or refunded; nirere-schedule nalang pagka wala nang issue and COVID, [They’re not totally cancelled or refunded. We are rescheduling them for a later date when the issue on COVID-19 is over],” Lopez noted.

Hotels and airline bookings are also affected by the current situation as many clients opted for a refund.

Early this month, Cebu Pacific announced billions of pesos in payouts for cancelled flights this year due to COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) meanwhile, clarified that passengers may refund their previous bookings subject to the conditions provided by their respective flight carriers. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

IATF approves DOLE’s proposed additional budget for workers’ cash assistance

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 8, 2020

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) has approved the proposed additional budget of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the formal and informal labor sectors affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to IATF-EID Spokesperson Sec. Karlo Nograles they have approved the release of P5 billion budget for DOLE’s cash assistance program.

The aid is seen to help displaced domestic and overseas Filipino workers.

“Sinusuportahan ng IATF ang request ng DOLE para sa release ng P5 billion piso para sa programa ng DOLE tulad ng COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) for affected overseas Filipino workers and (OFWs) and local workers; Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Displaced or Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) Sanitation Project; and the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) for OFWs program, (The IATF is supporting the request of DOLE to release P5 billion for their program like COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) for affected overseas Filipino workers and (OFWs) and local workers; Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Displaced or Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) Sanitation Project; and the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) for OFWs program)” Nograles said.

Nograles also clarified that DOLE’s assistance is different from the emergency subsidy program of the Department of the Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

According to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the department will provide P10,000 assistance to affected OFWs, documented or undocumented under the DOLE AKAP program.

“We hope to aid  all 715,000 workers whose employers numbering close to 30,000 had applied for financial  assistance as of today under CAMP. We are ready to process more requests if more establishments will submit their reports,” Bello said. AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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