By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has vowed to simplify requirements for government programs intended to aid those affected by the six-month closure of Boracay Island, the country’s premier tourist destination.
Citing Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, DOLE-6 regional director Johnson Cañete said displaced workers no longer have to worry of the strict requirements.
While DOLE is one of the government agencies offering financial aid in Boracay, the turnout has been low due to many documentary requirements. This has discouraged workers from applying.
To reverse this situation, DOLE will soon only require a valid ID and certificate of employment for applicants.
It was earlier estimated that 36,617 workers from both the formal and informal working sectors were displaced by Boracay’s tourism closure.
For DOLE’s Boracay Emergency Employment Program (BEEP), only 6,721 people have been approved out of the 10,058 applicants. This program is supposed to offer 50 percent of the prevailing minimum wage in Western Visayas or P4,205.50 to displaced Boracay workers for a period of six months. For those workers who are retained but are not receiving minimum wage, they are supposed to avail of P2,102.75 for three months.
On the other hand, DOLE’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) has only benefited 2,963 workers from the informal sectors. The one-month program gave the beneficiaries a salary of only P9,700. DOLE earlier targeted 5,000 beneficiaries for TUPAD.
So far, DOLE has released P23.2 million for TUPAD and P9.5 million for BEEP.