Workers in the private sector displaced by the community quarantine imposed in different parts of the country will receive a P5,000 lump-sum financial assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), said Senator Joel Villanueva.
He said the amount will go a long way for workers, especially those who fall under the category of no work, no pay. This will keep them confined in their homes while the government grapples to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
“We credit the labor department for its swift response to the issue,” said Villanueva, who wrote to DOLE on Monday to access its emergency employment programs given today’s circumstance.
He said workers continue to push their luck by leaving their houses to go to work because they have to provide for their families.
“With this financial assistance, we are appealing to our workers to stay in their homes during the implementation of quarantine. Our expenses would be higher if we get infected by COVID-19,” added Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development.
Department Order No. 209 covers the guidelines on DOLE’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), which the lawmaker urged the department to tap to provide assistance to thousands of displaced workers.
Workers covered by the order include retained workers having reduced working hours due to the implementation of flexible working arrangements by employers, and workers whose employment has been suspended due to the temporary shutdown of their employer’s operation, according to the guidelines.
Affected workers, regardless of employment status, will be given P5,000 as a one-time unconditional financial assistance in lump-sum, the guidelines stated. In addition, DOLE will also give affected workers employment facilitation services to match their skills with available domestic or overseas jobs.
The assistance, which will be given to the beneficiary through their payroll accounts, will be given within two weeks upon the receipt of their application by DOLE regional offices. Employers must also submit a report on their efforts to scale down their operations due to COVID-19 such as adopting flexible working arrangements like work from home, reduced working hours, among others.
Villanueva expressed hope the department would also act on his request to expedite the implementation of the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program (TUPAD) to further cushion the impact of the quarantine among workers.
TUPAD is an emergency employment program implemented in communities for displaced workers, seasonal workers, and even the underemployed. Beneficiaries work for a minimum of 10 days but not exceeding 30 days, depending on the nature of the work to be performed.
The lawmaker suggested to let TUPAD beneficiaries provide support services to law enforcers manning checkpoints “as long as TUPAD beneficiaries are provided personal protective equipment and training.” He was also open to the idea of letting TUPAD beneficiaries help in the disinfection of public places, with the caveat that safety gear is available./Stacy Ang