DOLE ends online applications for financial assistance

Published April 16, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Leslie Aquino

The Department of Labor and Employment has ceased to accept online applications for the P5,000 financial assistance for formal sector workers under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) effective April 15. In a statement, the DOLE said it has been swamped with volumes of requests that the available fund for the program amounting to P1.6 billion is very close to being “depleted.”

“The requests simply ballooned beyond the capacity of DOLE’s resources. The situation was aggravated by the extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) up to April 30,” DOLE said. “We seek the full understanding of employers and workers who were unable to receive the assistance,” it added.

DOLE revealed that since the implementation of CAMP last March 23, it was able to provide the one-time assistance to 236,412 workers from 10,663 establishments, with total cash disbursements of P1.2 billion. “Our regional operations had enormous challenges in attending to the 1.6 million CAMP applications nationwide, but we are happy to extend assistance to those who had received the cash aid,” it said.

It added that they have yet to pay 85,563 more workers in the coming days to maximize the P1.6 billion allotment for the program. DOLE said it is now working closely with other agencies, including Congress, for an immediate alternative program to help ease the burden on the greater number of workers who did not benefit from CAMP.

DOLE added that it is now moving fast its recovery plan for workers and employers to cope up with the “new normal” after the ECQ. “We are preparing a menu of programs that will complement national efforts to effectively address the needs of the people.” the department said.

The CAMP served as a safety net for workers in the formal sector to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the NAGKAISA! Labor Coalition said formal sector workers denied of the CAMP assistance should be accommodated by the Department of Finance (DOF) in its Small Business Wage Subsidy Program (SBWS).
“What will happen to the remaining workers in the formal sector, who were left behind…yet were also affected in varying degrees by the lockdown?” the group said in a statement.
“We demand that all CAMP applicants, who were not provided support by DOLE, be automatically accommodated by the DOF program,” added NAGKAISA.
But the coalition believes a universal approach in providing cash assistance, instead of still categorizing the beneficiaries is
the better approach.
“Rather than continue its targeted approach, which creates bottleneck and social divide, NAGKAISA! is reiterating its call for income guarantees for all affected workers,” said NAGKAISA.