Senator Joel Villanueva appeals to gov’t to continue paying workers amid quarantine in MM

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Noting  that work suspension would affect the income of 30 percent of government workers, categorized as job order or contract of service,  Senator Joel Villanueva has appealed to the government to continue paying them.

“The govenment must continue to pay for workers it contracted in the executive department to ensure they could fulfill the needs of their family with their source of income while work remains suspended in agencies under the Office of the President,” said Villanieva.

Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development, pointed out that the work suspension, which was ordered to prevent the spread of COVID-19, would affect their livelihood.

“While we are in this emergency situation where we limit government operation, I plead with the Executive to continue paying the contractual workers in government even if they don’t report to work to ensure their source of income during this period,” said Villanueva.

Data from the Civil Service Commission shows that of the 2.4 million workers in government, some 660,000 workers fall under job orders or contract of service.

“We are worried about the families who will be affected if contractual workers do not report to work. While there will be skeletal staffing in place, their take home pay will significantly shrink, and they may have a harder time fulfilling their basic needs,” Villanueva said.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a work suspension in the executive branch, but instructed to form skeletal staffing to ensure that the delivery of government services goes unimpeded.

Law enforcement agencies such as the police and the military, as well as health, emergency, and other frontline services shall continue in full operation, according to the President.

Villanueva also sought clarity from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on the similar issue for the private sector, who are encouraged to implement telecommuting work arrangements in their organizations as appropriate.

“No work, no pay rin po ang ating pribadong sektor. Kaya po hinihiling natin sa DOLE na bigyan ng linaw ang magiging panuntunan na ipapatupad sa kanila pagdating sa trabaho,” he said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros  urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)  to facilitate immediate cashflow to families who will lose their livelihood in the same light due to COVID-19.

She noted that the  President’s declaration of a community quarantine for the whole NCR has brought serious concern to a vast number of Filipinos  who work hard day in and day out to make payments that fall due.

“For this reason, I ask our Financial Managers to study and look into this course of action so that if conditions worsen and the need arises, we could implement an emergency mechanism that would ease the burden of our kababayans with the least adverse impact on our finances, economy, and institutions,” she said./ Stacy Ang

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