Govt ready to provide cash aid to temporarily displaced workers in NCR Plus: DOLE

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 28 2021 12:30 PM | Updated as of Mar 28 2021 12:47 PM

Members of the local barangay and the Philippine National Police (PNP) inspect motorists as they man a checkpoint at the border of Bulacan and Pampanga on March 23, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The government is prepared to provide financial assistance to all displaced workers within the NCR Plus bubble during its week-long strict lockdown, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Sunday.

The NCR Plus bubble, which consists of Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal, would be placed under enhanced community quarantine from Monday to Sunday to curb the alarming rise in new COVID-19 cases.

"We are prepared anyway to provide cash assistance sa ating displaced workers, especially yung nasa formal employment, and of course yung ating OFWs," Bello told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(We are prepared anyway to provide cash assistance to our displaced workers, especially those in the formal employment, and of course our OFWs.)

"For the formal workers, we will rely on employers who will submit to us mga pangalan ng workers nila na na-displace (the names of their workers who were displaced)."

Bello said that during the first two months of the year, some 71,000 lost their jobs after being retrenched and the closure of their workplaces.

"Hopefully, with this one-week lockdown, medyo maiwas-iwasan natin yung unemployment result nitong matinding health protocols," he said.

(Hopefully, with this one-week lockdown, we can somehow avoid further unemployment as a result of those strict protocols.)

Formal workers will get a one-time P5,000 cash aid if they are displaced, while overseas Filipino workers get P10,000, and informal workers will be hired for a maximum of 10 days and will be given minimum wage, according to Bello.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines has urged large member-firms to shoulder the salary of their no-work, no-pay workers for Monday to Wednesday, said its president Sergio Ortiz Luiz Jr.

"Ang nakikita kong mapeperwisyo, yung mga no-work, no-pay na mga empleyado," he said.

(I think it will inconvenience no-work, no-pay workers.)

"Pinapakiusapan naman yung malalaking miyembro namin, sana kargahin na lang ninyo yung Lunes, Martes, Miyerkoles para hindi naman masyado mahirapan ang mga tao nila."

(We appeal to huge companies to shoulder the pay of their workers from Monday to Wednesday to ease their burden.)

Essential workers are allowed to commute to and from their workplaces past the curfew of 6 p.m. to 5 a.m., Bello said.

"Allowed naman yung pagbiyahe nila, ipakita lang sa checkpoint ito galing sila sa trabaho," he said.

(Their commute is allowed, they should just explain at the checkpoint that they came from work.)

Authorities will be "compassionate" in implementing the curfew, said Ret. Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.

Bello said that with the imposition of the ECQ in the NCR Plus starting Monday, he is also instructing local labor officers to "inspect all workplaces to see to it that all health protocols are complied with strictly."

He said one of the reasons for the spread of the disease is non-compliance with health standards.

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