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

Marje Pelayo   •   April 12, 2021   •   405

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.

Labor group calls on gov’t to make vaccination accessible to workers

Marje Pelayo   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A labor group is asking the government to make vaccination accessible to workers.

Associated Labor Union-trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said about 200,000 to 300,000 workers still remain unvaccinated in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus Bubble.

“Nauuso ngayon iyong walk-in vaccine hopping. Ito yung mga manggagawang desperado na nagtatrabaho pero dahil kulang yung vaccines doon sa mga probinsya nila o sa kanilang siyudad kung saan sila nakatira, eh desperado silang naghahanap ng mga walk-in sa NCR o sa karatig na probinsya,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

The group said that those in the provinces suffer the long wait for vaccines unlike residents in Metro Manila.

They added that even if the local government units (LGUs) in the said region have opened their vaccinations to non-residents, non-NCR residents are still not among their priority.

Thus, the group is calling on the government to bring the vaccinators to their workplaces especially now that most industries require workers to be fully vaccinated.

“Dapat siguro bakit hindi pumunta yung mga vaccinator sa mga workplaces? Imbes na mga manggagawa ang maghanap-hanap kung saan, dapat lahat ng businesses o business establishment sa Metro Manila ay puntahan ng mga vaccinators,” Tanjusay said.

Meanwhile, the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) is requesting for additional supply of COVID -19 vaccines and the construction of additional storage facilities.

Marinduque governor and LPP president, Presbitero Velasco said, “Tingin ko yung government kung may pondo pa, they should provide ultra low freezers para pati naman yung malalayong LGUs at yung mga lower rank LGUs ay mabigyan naman ng magagandan bakuna.”

For its part, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has begun vaccination programs for construction and factory workers after the national government provided them with 452,000 doses of vaccines.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III stressed that workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to avoid further crippling the economy.

“Kasi kung hindi mo bakunahan yung mga workers natin, mapipilay yung ating mga negosyo. Ngayon pag napilay yung negosyo, pilay yung ating ekonomiya,” Bello said.

In the coming week, DOLE has scheduled a roll out of vaccination in certain provinces with a specific number of COVID vaccines doses:

Malolos, Bulacan – 1,000 (Sept. 23, 2021)
Bataan – 1,000 (Sept. 24, 2021)
Dumaguete – 1,000 (Sept. 24, 2021)
Cebu – 5,000 (Sept 24, 2021)

MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DOLE confident of reaching target of 1M jobs by year-end

Marje Pelayo   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in compliance with the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) is aiming at reaching its goal of generating one million jobs by the end of the year.

NERS 2021-2022 is an employment recovery plan addressing the changes in the labor market brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Layunin po ng programa na ito na makapag-hire o makapag-recruit po tayo ng mga manggagawa para ma-fill up ‘yung ating mga vacancies sa construction sector at saka sa manufacturing sector,” said DOLE Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay.

The official said they are also looking into job opportunities in information technology and business process outsourcing sectors.

Citing the latest quarterly labor force survey from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Tutay said the prevailing  COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the country’s labor force.

However, the DOLE together with other concerned agencies has laid plans to be able to achieve its target under NERS.

“Ang iba pong mga hakbang na ginagawa natin ngayon is ongoing po ang ating vaccination rollout para doon sa mga workers ng construction sector at saka manufacturing sector,” ASec Tutay said.

“Nagkaroon din tayo ng pagpupulong sa SSS at sa Pag-IBIG dahil iyon pong mga job seekers na rine-recruit po ng ating mga kumpanya ay nahihirapan po sila sa pre-employment documentary requirements,” she added.

DOLE assures working closely with NERS Task Force and various government agencies to ensure improvements in the country’s labor market amid the pandemic.

DOT clarifies travel guidelines in areas under Alert Level 4

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Tourism (DOT) has clarified that residents in the National Capital Region who are below 18 and over 65 years old shall not be permitted to leave their residences for leisure travel following Alert Level 4 guidelines.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, in a statement, said that travelers will also be subject to reasonable restrictions based on age and comorbidities as may be determined by their respective local government unit (LGU) and the reasonable regulations of their destination’s LGU.

The tourism chief also reminded all tourism-related establishments in the NCR, such as Staycations, indoor visitor or tourist attractions, and indoor venues for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) are prohibited under Alert level 4 as per IATF ruling.

The National Capital Region (NCR) will be placed under the Alert Level 4 classification from September 16-30.

Meanwhile, Puyat noted that the high inoculation rate among tourism workers from hotels will make dining in their restaurants safer.

“The good news is that 99 percent of tourism workers employed in hotels across Metro Manila have been vaccinated. All in all, tourism workers in NCR, including those in DOT-accredited restaurants recorded a 94 percent vaccination rate. This is an added assurance, not only to the safety of our guests but our tourism workers as well,” said Puyat.

The official added that under the current guidelines, outdoor or alfresco dine-in will be allowed at 30 percent venue capacity while indoor dine-in will be allowed at 10 percent only for fully-vaccinated individuals.

“Allowing fully vaccinated guests to dine in restaurants located inside DOT-accredited hotels and restaurants will slowly help restart the economy while making sure all our tourism workers and guests are safe,” she said. -AAC

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