By Ivy Tejano
DAVAO CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment in Region 11 (DOLE-11) reported on June 8 that over 10,000 employers in Davao Region have expressed their plan to retrench workers, or entirely close down operations due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In the One Davao on COVID-19 Virtual Presser on Monday, DOLE-Davao Mediator-Arbiter Atty. Connie Beb Torralba said that around 200,000 workers of the 10,000 companies that have written the agency over their concerns were expected to be affected.
Torralba said the agency had already anticipated that there will be employers who will prefer to lay off some of their employees because of the COVID-19 crisis. But she underscored that a process should be followed before this could be done.
She said that before the effectivity of the separation, the employer has to notify or give notice to their employees 30 days before the effectivity of the separation, and that the DOLE office must also be informed and notified about the plan for retrenchment or total cessation of business.
“The employees should know about the payment of separation if it is brought about by financial losses. The employee must receive half of his monthly salary for every year of service,” Torralba said.
Torralba also said that the employers may opt to reduce the salary of its employees as long as this has been agreed upon by both the employer and its employees. The DOLE-Davao, on the other hand, still encourages employers to implement alternative work arrangements.
The COVID-19 crisis has placed owners of many business establishments here in a tough position deciding on whether to continue or just close shop.
One such business was the “Apo ni Lola Durian Delicacies”, whose owner Arnel “Jojo” Raakin admitted that the pandemic had severely affected his business because their target market is primarily composed of tourists or visitors coming from different countries and regions of the country.
From the usual 15 tourist buses and passenger vans filled with tourists who make a stop at the store to buy “pasalubong” items, the number had dwindled down to five to 10 a day.
To continue the business amid the pandemic, Apo ni Lola Marketing Officer Katrina Elaine Velasco said Raakin decided to open the store on May 20, to keep marketing the products to random visitors and to the locals of Davao City, as well.
Velasco said the management of Apo ni Lola Durian Delicacies was a believer in sustained innovation. She added that the business will adapt to the changes, and continue operating despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic.