More than 1-M workers benefit from DOLE cash assistance programs

Published May 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Leslie Ann Aquino

More than 1 million workers affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have received cash assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The Labor department said these workers belong to the formal and informal sectors, including overseas Filipino workers.

In its report to the President, DOLE said its assistance programs reached 1,059, 387 workers and had disbursed about P4.44 billion of its regular budget and a separate P1.05 billion in emergency fund.

DOLE said a total of 618,722 formal sector workers from 31,972 micro, small and medium enterprises were extended the P5,000 cash assistance under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

In a statement, DOLE said it spent P3.093 billion from its 2020 budget for the one-time assistance program.

“An additional 35,723 workers are expected to benefit from the cash aid as the CAMP program wraps up its operations this week,” it said.

The CAMP was rolled out on March 23, and acceptance of requests for assistance by establishments was terminated on April 15 with the receipt of more than 1.6 million applications.

As for the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers, Barangay Ko Bahay Ko (TUPAD #BKBK) program, DOLE said 337,198 workers in the informal sector benefited from the 10-day emergency employment and were paid the minimum wage prevailing in their respective areas.

The Labor department said some P1.348 billion of their regular budget were disbursed to finance the emergency employment program which involved the disinfection and sanitation of the beneficiaries’ dwellings and immediate vicinity to conform with the physical distancing protocol to prevent the spread of the virus.

DOLE said the only remaining program is the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program for OFWs.

But the Labor department said this is also nearing completion with about 74 percent of the targeted OFW-beneficiaries already qualified for the release of the one-time P10,000 or $200 cash assistance.

According to DOLE, 103,467 OFWs were already listed as beneficiaries of the AKAP program representing displaced workers onsite and those repatriated or stranded in the country due to the community quarantine.

It said about about P1.05 billion have been disbursed of the P1.5 billion special fund released for the program for an estimated 150,000 OFWs.

The DOLE said it would need an additional P2 billion in emergency funds to be able to service a significant portion of the 368,703 OFWs who had sought the cash aid as of May 5.

The social amelioration programs CAMP, TUPAD and AKAP are part of the government’s response to mitigate the adverse economic effects of the health emergency on the low income workers.