The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on April 29, 2020, it has realigned PHP1.5 billion from its budget this year to provide more funds for the one-time assistance of PHP5,000 to an additional 300,000 workers already processed under its Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).
“With internally sourced funds, DOLE will now be able to assist a total of about 650,000 workers with PHP3.24 billion in total CAMP assistance. This, however, will leave around 1,000,000 workers still unserved under the special amelioration program. The requests for assistance submitted by their employers had already been processed,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement.
The realignment was implemented to be able to assist more formal sector workers displaced by the Covid-19 pandemic, which is over 2.3 million.
As of April 28, some 87,301 establishments reported that over 1.6 million of their workers were affected by temporary closures while 797,729 were on alternative work arrangements due to the enhanced community quarantine.
As for cash assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the DOLE said it has given the PHP10,000 cash assistance to more than 70,000 beneficiaries or close to 50 percent of targeted Filipinos of the PHP1.5-billion Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) assistance fund.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Offices and local offices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration reported that more than 297,000 OFWs are seeking cash assistance.
Meanwhile, the DOLE is set to start next month its regular Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program in areas that will be under a general community quarantine.
The program will use a separate PHP1 billion worth of realigned regular funds of the labor department.
The DOLE already used up over PHP1 billion to fund the emergency TUPAD Barangay Ko Bahay Ko (BKBK) to assist 275,000 informal sector workers hard hit by the pandemic.
The program was recently cited by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization having been adopted specifically for informal sector workers and adopted by only 11 countries to mitigate the impact of the global crisis.
Aside from the Philippines, other countries cited for such programs are Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Egypt, Australia, Thailand, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)