The lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic left many in our country with no job. As of April 28, more than 87,000 establishments reported that over 1.6 million workers were affected due to temporary closures. With no salary to receive, many are worried about how to make both ends meet.
The labor department has realigned P1.5 billion of its 2020 budget in order to provide a one-time assistance of P5,000 to an additional 300,000 workers already processed under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).
The realignment was ordered by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to enable DOLE to assist more formal sector workers displaced by the COVID pandemic, which has further ballooned to over 2.3 million.
With internally sourced funds, DOLE will now be able to assist a total of about 650,000 workers with P3.24 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.
So far, DOLE has already provided assistance to 407,300 under CAMP, or an additional 58,000 beneficiaries with the infusion of the realigned funds.
On OFW assistance, DOLE said it has provided the P10,000 cash assistance to more than 70,000 OFWs or close to 50 percent of targeted beneficiaries of the P1.5 billion AKAP assistance fund.
From reports of the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices and local offices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, more than 297,000 OFWs are seeking the cash assistance.
Meanwhile, DOLE said it will commence next month its regular Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program in areas outside of the extended enhanced community quarantine. The program will utilize a separate P1 billion realigned regular funds of the labor department.
DOLE had already used up over P1 billion to fund the emergency TUPAD Barangay Ko Bahay Ko (TUPAD BKBK) to assist informal sector workers hard hit by the pandemic. It had 275,000 beneficiaries.
The program was recently cited by the United Nation’s 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, the other countries cited for such programs are Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Egypt, Australia, Thailand, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.