The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Sunday said it is possible to resume with its cash assistance to formal sector workers with fresh moves in Congress calling for the augmentation of funds for DOLE’s emergency subsidy program.
“We are hopeful that some positive developments are coming along the way for our displaced workers,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a press release.
Bello cited efforts by lawmakers led by Senators Joel Villanueva and Christopher Bong Go to pump additional funding to the Covid Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) that provides a PHP5,000 one-time assistance to workers affected by the national emergency due to the coronavirus disease (Covid 19).
“We are grateful to Senators Villanueva and Go for their unwavering support in helping our workers tide over during this health crisis,” Bello said.
Last week, DOLE announced it has stopped accepting requests for assistance under CAMP after having been swamped with volumes of applications quickly depleting its measly PHP1.6-billion fund for the program.
Villanueva has called on the Department of Budget and Management to augment the funding for DOLE’s assistance program to aid displaced workers which, as of April 17, stood at 1,696,814 from 63,335 reporting establishments nationwide.
Of this number, more than 1.2 million workers were affected by temporary closures while over 550,000 of them are on alternative work arrangements like reduced workdays, rotation, forced leave and telecommuting.
Ninety-eight percent of establishments which reported work displacements are seeking the CAMP assistance for their workers.
So far, a total of 264,154 workers were extended the cash assistance amounting to PHP1.320 billion.
DOLE said this leaves the assistance fund a small balance of less than PHP300 million as of April 18.
The highest displacement was recorded in Metro Manila with about 570,523 workers, followed by Central Luzon at 274,910; Calabarzon with 123,687; Davao Region at 100,275 and Region 10 with 94,101; followed by Region 2 at 86,467; Central Visayas with 68,250; Cordillera Region at 61,200; Region 6 with 59,548 and the Bicol Region with 57,205.
Mimaropa recorded 51,167 workers and Caraga with 36,390.
The areas with the least affected workers are Eastern Visayas at 33,649; Ilocos Region with 32,017; Zamboanga at 30,530 and Soccsksargen at 17,895.
Aside from CAMP, the labor department also provides assistance under the TUPAD-BKBK program that already processed a total of 235,949 informal sector workers as beneficiaries for a total assistance of PHP966 million.
Another amelioration program of DOLE is the PHP1.5-billion AKAP for affected and displaced overseas Filipino workers.
The program seeks to assist about 150,000 OFWs on-site or in host countries affected by lockdowns and those in the Philippines who are unable to return to their destinations.
More than 30,000 requests for assistance have already been received under the program, on top of the 25,800 stranded OFWs assisted by DOLE and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.