DOLE eyes extension of cash assistance to displaced workers in case of continued ECQ

Published April 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Leslie Ann Aquino

The Department of Labor and Employment will recommend the extension of their COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) to the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases if the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine is extended.

“If there is an extension of this enhanced community quarantine, the DOLE will recommend for the extension of the program of cash assistance,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said during the Laging Handa press briefing Monday.

The CAMP is a safety net program, which offers one time P5,000 financial support to employees of companies or business establishments that have adopted flexible work arrangements or temporary closure due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

To avail of the assistance, employers must submit their company payroll for February or earlier, which is before the implementation of flexible working arrangements or temporary closure.

In a separate interview, Information and Publication Service director Rolly M. Francia said the DOLE will recommend the extension to accommodate more workers.

“So far our field offices already received applications covering 597,000 workers or more than 95 percent of those reported by establishments,” he said.

On Sunday, DOLE reported that close to 200,000 workers affected by the COVID pandemic have received cash assistance from the government.

The labor department said some 102,895 formal sector workers had received the cash assistance under the CAMP while close to 80,000 workers in the informal sector benefitted from the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD)-Barangay ako Bahay Ko (BKBK) program.

But Bello said they are targetting to help more workers.

“We are still targetting 115,000 formal workers up to April 14. This will involve P579 million. For the informal workers, we are targetting 235,000 and this will involve P163 million,” he said.

The labor chief said they may have to ask for more budget from the national government as they expect more workers will be affected by the crisis.

Meanwhile, Sec. Bello said performing artists and entertainers who were also adversely affected by the COVID pandemic may avail of their TUPAD program.

“We will give them work for 10 days and we will pay them a minimum wage,” he said.

To note, DOLE also administers the TUPAD, which provides the equivalent of daily minimum wage for 10 days for workers in the informal sector by disinfecting their houses and vicinities.

The disinfection must be done in coordination with the local health offices for safety.