P1B payout for workers could come by end of January: DOLE

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 15 2022 08:58 PM

Around 200,000 formal sector workers affected by the imposition and extension of Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila and other regions in the Philippines are set to receive P5,000 in cash aid from the government as early as before the end of January, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Saturday.

Assistant Secretary Dominique Rubia-Tutay of the DOLE’s Employment and General Administration Cluster told ABS-CBN News that guidelines for the distribution of the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) are already being finalized for publication in the next 2 weeks.

Over P1 billion in funds were allotted for this 3rd tranche of the CAMP from the DOLE’s TUPAD fund for displaced or disadvantaged workers under its 2022 budget.

Tutay said the DOLE already foresaw the need for cash aid for workers in industries that would be affected by the more-stringent measures, most of them in the tourism, entertainment, and food sectors.

She noted these industries, particularly tourism, saw increased income as 2021 drew to a close due to relaxed restrictions but quickly felt the brunt of the increase in COVID-19 cases and the subsequent rise in alert level after the New Year.

“Instead na bumangon, na-put-on-hold na naman at ngayon ay na-extend tayo hanggang end of the month ang ating alert level 3 at nag-expand pa ‘yong areas covered by alert level 3. So kailangan ‘yong assistance ng ating mga kababayan,” she said.

Based on its monitoring from January 1 to 6, the DOLE listed 3,284 workers in 267 establishments who lost their jobs due to the permanent closure of their companies or retrenchment.

In the same period, 5,762 workers experienced reduced income because of flexible working arrangements or temporary company closures.

Most of these cases were in NCR, with the rest in Regions III and IV-A.

The DOLE monitors these cases through their Establishment Reporting System or ERS.

Tutay said they expect to see a more complete picture of the impact of the Alert Level 3 on businesses when they collate data from the first 2 weeks of January this week.

“May iba na kahit Alert Level 3 mas gugustuhin nila na magsara temporarily dahil mas malaki ang gastos nila kaysa sa kikitain po nila,” she said.

“Mayroon naman pong iba na nagsasara dahil medyo matagal na itong sitwasyon at kung nakikita naman po nilang nalulugi lalong lalo na po ang mga maliliit na kompanya, mahirap din po talagang bumangon kung hindi po consistent ‘yong pag-o-open ng ating ekonomiya.”

Application for the cash assistance will be done online either by the affected companies or individual beneficiaries, which will then be remitted electronically after a process of around 1 week.

TOURISM AID

A separate P50 million fund was also set aside for affected tourism workers in coordination with the Department of Tourism.

This is in addition to another P50 million assistance released for the sector in the wake of Typhoon Odette, which hit many tourism spots in the Central and Southern Philippines.

“Noong last quarter ng 2021 maganda na prospects ng ating tourism sector. Pinag-uusapan na ang job fair para sa January 2022 this month po sana. Kaya lang biglang nag-Odette at ang mga tourism destinations natin in various regions ay affected. Then came alert level 3 in NCR na supposedly ang mga tourism establishments naman ay open, bigla namang nabawasan ang kanilang capacity,” Tutay said.

Aside from Metro Manila, over 50 provinces and cities have been placed under Alert Level 3 from January 16 until the end of January.

Twenty-eight other areas were also added to the heightened alert level beginning January 14.