By Genalyn Kabiling
The government is planning to spend P5 billion for the social amelioration programs for the formal labor sector affected by the coronavirus lockdown.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging infectious Diseases (IATF) has endorsed the budget request made by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to defray the costs for assistance programs for displaced domestic and overseas workers, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
The programs include COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) for affected Overseas Filipino Workers and (OFWs) and local workers, Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) Sanitation Project; and The Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) sa OFWs program.
“The recommendations of the Department of Labor and Employment for the social amelioration program for the formal workers sector as presented are hereby approved,” he said during a virtual press conference Tuesday.
“For this purpose, the IATF supports the approval and immediate release of the requested budget by the Department of Labor and Employment amounting to P5 billion in order to defray the costs of the social amelioration programs,” he said.
Nograles however said the beneficiaries of these assistance programs must be “separate and distinct” from those covered by social amelioration programs by other government agencies.
“Lilinawin ko po na iba po ang mga subsidy na ito sa ESP o Emergency Subsidy Program ng DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) para sa mga targeted beneficiaries (I want to make it clear that these subsidies are different from the Emergency Subsidy Program of the DSWD for targeted beneficiaries),” he said.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said he would ask for additional budget as more Filipino workers are expected to seek assurance due to the adverse impact of the coronavirus emergency.
Bello said 1.8 million Filipino workers may be affected by coronavirus pandemic affecting the country and other nations.
The labor department has so far released around P514 million in financial aid to 102,855 formal workers while another P107 million for the 72,703 informal workers.
Under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), the government will give each worker P5,000 in cash to be processed through the companies’ payroll system.
“We are still targeting 115,000 formal workers up to April 14. This will involve P579 million sa formal workers. Sa mga informal workers, we are targeting 235,000 informal workers and this will involve P963 million,” Bello said in a virtual press conference last Monday.