By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said millions of displaced workers felt betrayed after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) abruptly suspended its cash assistance scheme, the Covid Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).
TUCP president Raymond Mendoza said millions of locked down workers, particularly those who have yet to receive the cash grant, are feeling betrayed by the stoppage of their only “lifeline” during the enhanced community quarantine, which has been extended to April 30.
“Because of this cash assistance stoppage, jobless ordinary workers and their families are confused and felt betrayed right now,” he said in a statement.
“Displaced workers felt they were pushed into lockdown, deprived of their jobs, kept in the dark corner, and left out amid hunger, poverty, and fear,” added Mendoza.
On Thursday, the DOLE announced the suspension of the one-time P5,000 CAMP financial assistance for formal sector workers effective April 15, 2020 as the program’s P1.6 billion budget is near depletion.
According to the DOLE, the program has so far disbursed P1.2 billion which benefitted 236,412 employees of 10,663 work establishments since they started the payout on March 23.
With the suspension, the TUCP said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease should immediately and clearly explain the matter to ordinary workers to avoid confusion.
“To cure the gaping widespread confusion and insecurity, we urged the government to clarify the matter immediately and clearly to the millions of displaced workers, particularly those who have yet to receive the CAMP cash assistance,” Mendoza said.
Based on the TUCP estimate, there are at least 4 million rank-and-file workers that were rendered jobless by the enhanced community quarantine that the government imposed last month to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).