MANILA - The Department of Transportation on Friday said it would release the salaries of its employees in advance this month, amid the Luzon's month-long lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The salary of regular employees for the second half of March has been released, while the department is only waiting the list of job order and contractual workers who rendered service in March before disbursing their pay, DOTr said in a statement.
"This is our way of showing solidarity with our workers during these tough times. Some of our employees are even working round-the-clock as transportation concerns remain vital and on top of the matter," DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
"This is our way of showing that we care for them and their loved ones until such time we altogether put an end to this COVID-19 crisis," he said.
The DOTr is also coordinating with other government departments for the early release of its workers' 13th month pay, Transportation Undersecretary for Finance Garry de Guzman said.
Under the Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) policy, the 13th month pay should be equivalent to one-twelfth of an employee’s basic salary earned within a calendar year.
"We have already processed in advance the paper work for eventual release [of 13th month pay] should the Department of Budget and Management give their guidelines and go signal,” De Guzman said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier appealed to government agencies and private employers to ensure that workers would not lose their income even while most establishments shut down while Luzon is under an enhanced community quarantine.
Mass transportation, malls, and non-essential establishments in Luzon were ordered shut until April 13, 2020 as the government tries to limit the movement of people in the Philippines' most populous island to contain the coronavirus.
As of March 19, COVID-19 has infected 217 patients in the Philippines. Seventeen died, 8 recovered while the rest are still battling the disease, which originated from Wuhan, China.