Senator Gatchalian pushes for the immediate release of financial aid to affected workers amid COVID-19 crisis

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Displaced workers brought about by an enhanced community quarantine triggered by the coronavirus disease 2019  (COVID-19)  pandemic deserve to be compensated now, according to Senator Win Gatchalian.

Gatchalian said these workers, both from the formal and informal sector, need not so much time to wait as many of them have to feed their families and provide for their immediate basic needs on a daily basis.

This is why Gatchalian is pushing for the immediate release of the 1.3 billion peso-COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) or the P5,000 peso-per worker aid in private establishments.

The problem, Gatchalian said, is that the assistance package can only be released within two weeks once all the application of beneficiaries are received at the regional offices of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Their employers are also required to submit their COVID-19 precautionary measure reports.

“The problem with government is red tape and we need to release the funds now. Hindi na natin dapat pinaghihintay pa ang mga apektadong empleyado dahil kapag hindi natin kaagad maibigay yan, baka bukas makalawa makita natin sila uli sa mga kalsada para maghanap ng kitang iuuwi sa kanilang mga pamilya,” Gatchalian said.

The lawmaker said DOLE can utilize the different local government units (LGUs) to help in identifying their constituents covered by the program and that DOLE should minimize the requirements so that beneficiaries can immediately enjoy their subsidies.

“Kailangang makipag-uganayan ang DOLE sa LGUs dahil sa ganitong paraan ay mas mapapabilis na, mas magiging epektibo pa ang pamimigay ng ayuda sa ating mga kababayang nawalan ng trabaho,” stressed Gatchalian.

On the part of the informal sector workers, an emergency employment assistance will be given by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs is also proposing a “bridge loan package” for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“Ang isa ko pang mungkahi ay isang loan package fund sa mga negosyante natin, lalo na yung mga maliliit na negosyante, para may maipang sweldo sila sa kanilang mga empleyado,” Gatchalian added.

Meanwhile, Gatchalian joins calls for business owners to relax their “no work, no pay” policy./Stacy Ang

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