Angara to gov’t: Clarify policy on mall closures

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on the Sunday urged the government agencies tasked to enforce the community quarantine in Metro Manila to clarify policies regarding mall closures during the one-month isolation period.

Sen. Sonny Angara (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN) Sen. Sonny Angara

Angara said the government should consider the impact of such policy to hundreds of thousands of employees or workers who would be affected by the closures or mall hours adjustments.

“While we understand the need to act swiftly and decisively when it comes to controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the country, we should also consider the impacts of these actions on the public, particularly those who rely on daily wages to make ends meet,” Angara said.

He said an estimated 700,000 employees, especially sales clerks, stand to be affected by mall closures.

“For our citizens who are daily wage earners and who are not earning that much and are on a no work-no pay situation, mall closures will bring more damage than the possible effect of COVID-19,” said Angara.

This early, Angara said he is asking the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to provide all available remedies to the situation being faced by the employees affected by the outbreak of the disease in the country.

He said DOLE has P6.787-billion for the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or TUPAD and P381-million for its Adjustment Measures Program (AMP) under the 2020 national budget.

TUPAD is a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum period of 10 days, but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days, depending on the nature of work to be performed.

Meanwhile, the AMP provides displaced workers with a package of assistance and interventions, including financial aid, employment facilitation and training and livelihood.

“This is a good time as any for DOLE to use that budget for emergency employment for our kababayans whose livelihood opportunities will suffer,” Angara said.