By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it is now readying a recovery plan post-COVID-19 for the generation of one million jobs in the provinces for workers in the coming months.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced this on Thursday, a day before Labor Day.
He said part of the plan includes a three-month wage subsidy to workers in micro and small-scale enterprises in the provinces.
Bello said they will also be asking the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to increase their required manpower in their projects to accommodate more workers.
“This is so we can create more employment opportunities, especially for those in the barangays and those coming from Metro Manila,” he said.
Bello said they will continue and enhance the implementation of their Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) program for the next three months to employ “returnees” and those in the barangays.
The following are some of the key points of the DOLE Recovery Plan which is anchored on “Balik-Probinsiya” concept under an umbrella stimulus package called Barangay Emergency Employment Program (BEEP) meant to create and restore employment in every barangay. This will be made by:
– Requiring public works contractors of DPWH to be labor intensive in all existing projects and hire at least 10 percent additional manpower from the community where the project is performed for the duration of their contracts.
– Continuing the TUPAD for a three-month local works period for every barangay to employ a mix of workers from the community and returnee workers from “urban-to-rural” relocation.
– Providing a wage subsidy for employees for three months duration to micro and small-scale enterprises in the provinces to enable them to push-start after brief dormancy. This shall also cover workers in the so-called gig economy or “on call” workers where there is no regularity of employment, including media reporters in the provinces who are paid on “per-report” basis as stringers.
While for overseas employment, the plan includes: an expanded Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) for overseas Filipino workers; agri-business/backyard business; expansion of educational assistance for OFW dependents, among others.
“This much we can offer our Filipino workers in the interim as we trek the road to recovery,” Bello said.
In order to prepare workers for the “new normal,” the DOLE said it will soon issue a joint guidelines with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the workplace protection and prevention from COVID-19.