MANILA — Close to 200,000 workers have received cash assistance from the government in a bid to soften the financial blow of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workforce, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Sunday.
In a statement, DOLE said as of April 4, around 102,000 formal sector workers and 80,000 from the informal sector had received their cash aid amounting to P5,000 each.
DOLE initially asked employers to request for cash assistance for their employees by submitting a proof of payroll. Some workers have complained that their employers have refused to submit the requirements for the cash aid.
The Employers Confederation of the Philippines however said submitting many businesses are finding it difficult to comply with this requirement because of the lockdown itself.
"One of the requirements is to produce the payroll, and the companies are closed. What can be produced, probably, is a certification by the HR [human resources]," said ECOP president Sergio Ortiz Luis.
Luis said in an interview with ANC that the government should "not insist on things that cannot be supplied by the company" because they are closed and company officials cannot move around freely.
DOLE said P622 million in assistance funds had been disbursed to beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) and the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD)-Barangay ko, Bahay Ko (BKBK) program.
Another 350,000 formal and informal sector workers are set to receive their cash aid "in the middle of the month."
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, DOLE is seeking another P5 billion from the national government to cover the remainder of the 600,000 displaced workers due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The entire Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19 from March 17 to April 12.
The lockdown has forced most business establishments to close, with the exception of those providing basic necessities such as those related to food and medicine.