POEA assures support for seafarers affected by pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2020   •   155

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has assured continued assistance to seafarers affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In Resolution No. 13, series of 2020, the POEA emphasized the provision of assistance and benefits to seafarers stranded ashore or are facing problems in their deployment or repatriation due to pandemic-related reasons.

Under the resolution, a seafarer who already signed an employment contract but cannot be deployed from the point of hire due to the pandemic shall be provided with accommodation and food to be shouldered by their principal or employer, unless provided by the government.

The assistance will be provided until the seafarer is deployed or returned home or until contract cancellation.

A seafarer who was deployed but becomes stranded during his transit shall be paid basic pay, accommodation, food, and medical benefits at the principal or employer’s cost until the seafarer reaches the vessel.

The resolution also directs principals or employers to provide the same assistance and benefits to seafarers who already signed a contract and deployed but unable to join the ship and is repatriated back home, as well as other seafarers who cannot be repatriated due to the pandemic.

Seafarers who completed his period of contractual service onboard, and who is ashore but cannot be repatriated shall also be provided with basic pay, accommodation, food, and medical benefits.

The principal/employers of the seafarer shall also provide all the cost on the accommodation and food of the seafarer during his quarantine period, unless otherwise provided by the government.

“Meanwhile, the principal/employers will be allowed to recover any associated cost on the said provision of assistance and benefits in accordance with the employment contract or the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” the POEA said.

DTI to allow mall-wide sales to revive economy amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   October 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will once again allow the conduct of mall-wide sales to draw more shoppers as part of government efforts to revive the country’s economy amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the move aims to encourage more customers to visit malls following the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) decision to ease quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and allow more people to leave their homes.

“Payagan ulit natin para restimulate ulit ang dami ng tao sa mall dahil nakita natin as we reopen hindi pa ganun kadami yung mga nagpupunta sa mall,” he said.

“Isang panghikayat ulit para sumigla ang ekonomiya ay payagan natin ang paggawa ng mall-wide sale o whether sa isang tindahan,” he added.

The DTI earlier said around 95% of sectors have been allowed to resume operations amid the pandemic, provided that they implement strict observance of health protocols in light of the COVID-19 threat.

Mall operators, for their part, assured they will continue to follow health protocols for commercial establishments to ensure the safety of their customers. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)



DOLE studying employers’ plea to subsidize 13th month pay

Robie de Guzman   •   October 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday said it is studying the plea of some “distressed” employers to subsidize the cost of the 13th  month pay of their workers.

DOLE said it would deliberate on the proposal after its meeting with labor groups and business owners on Tuesday.

The labor department added that it will coordinate with the Department of Finance to discuss the employers’ suggestion.

DOLE Undersecretary Benjo Benevidez, however, stressed that employers who may avail of the possible subsidy must pass the requirements and prove that their businesses have indeed took a hit in the last three business quarters.

“Kung ikaw ay nagsasabing distressed employer ka, patunayan mon a distressed employer ka… Isa po sa proseso ay magpunta ka sa DOLE at aaprubahan yung kanilang application,” he said.

DOLE met with employers and labor groups to discuss the possible deferment of the 13th month pay due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under Presidential Decree No. 851, companies are required to give workers their 13th month pay and that this should be released before the end of each year, separate from other year-end bonuses.

The department said labor groups are firm on their position to receive their 13th month pay as provided by the law.

The employers are willing to give workers their 13th month pay but the pandemic has affected their capacity to do so, it added.

DOLE said it will announce its decision on the matter in the coming days. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Mirasol Abogadil)

Ilocos Norte, muling bubuksan sa mga turista sa Oct. 15

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2020

Muli nang tatanggap ng mga turista ang lalawigan ng Ilocos Norte matapos ang halos pitong buwang pagsasara dahil sa ipinatutupad na community quarantine bunsod ng coronavirus pandemic.

Ayon kay Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, simula sa Oktubre 15 ay maaari nang bumisita sa Ilocos Norte ang limitadong bilang ng mga lokal na turista na magmumula sa Luzon.

Isa ang Ilocos Norte sa mga dinarayong lugar sa bansa dahil sa adventure sites at magagandang tanawin rito, kabilang na ang Pagudpud, panoramic ocean views, sand dunes adventure, wind farms at Baroque architecture.

Ayon kay Romulo-Puyat, malaking tulong ang muling pagbubukas ng turismo sa lalawigan upang makabangon ang lokal na ekonomiya mula sa epekto ng pandemiya.

Ngunit paalala ng kalihim, kailangang sumunod sa mga requirement at health protocols ang mga bisita upang maiwasan ang posibleng pagkalat ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Kabilang sa mga requirement ang pagprisinta ng negative swab test result para sa COVID-19 ng mga bisita dalawang araw bago ang kanilang pag-alis; dapat rin ay may kumpirmado silang accommodation booking, travel agent o operator for tours, tour itinerary at medical certificate.

Tiniyak naman ng DOT na tutulong sila sa paglulunsad ng Visita Management System upang mabantayan ang pagpasok ng mga turista.

Katulad ito ng ipinatutupad na Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA) para sa mga bibisita sa Baguio City na kamakailan ay binuksan na rin para sa mga lokal na turista.

Maliban sa Ilocos Norte at Baguio City, muli na ring binuksan ang turismo sa Boracay Island. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Grace Doctolero)

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