and GERARD NAVAL
THE Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Tuesday approved an additional P5-billion fund requested by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to augment its funding for financial aid for workers displaced and affected by the work stoppage imposed under the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
Cabinet Secretary and concurrent IATF spokesman Karlo Nograles said the additional funding will be used for the DOLE’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), the Tulong Pang-hanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD), Barangay ko, Bahay Ko (BKBK) program, and the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) sa OFWs program.
Nograles said the beneficiaries of the DOLE programs shall be “separate and distinct from those already covered by social amelioration programs by other agencies of the national government.”
DOLE initially allotted P1.5 billion to help some 350,000 formal and informal sector workers through its CAMP and TUPAD program. CAMP provides formal workers with a one-time P5,000 aid while TUPAD provides a 10-day work to workers from the informal sector who lost their jobs during the lockdown. They are paid based on the minimum wage rate in their region.
DOLE has said it needed P5 billion more to fully attend to the needs of the workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
As of April 3, CAMP has released P441.94 million that benefited 88,388 workers from 6,923 establishments nationwide. DOLE targets to provide aid to 115,835 workers.
For TUPAD, DOLE has released P174.589 million that benefited 455,934 workers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said DOLE is easing up on the requirements and speeding up the processing of applications for the CAMP.
“(This is) in our desire to provide assistance to the most number of workers affected by the global pandemic and in view of the decision of the President to extend enhanced community quarantine in Luzon,” Bello said in a statement.
First amendment, he said, is that they are no longer strictly requiring the submission of the company payroll in the establishment report. Any proof of payment of salaries and wages will be sufficient compliance with the requirement, Bello said.
Second, the labor chief assured that no information given by employers in the submission of establishment reports will be disclosed to the public or used against them in the future.
This, he said, is in order to encourage more companies to submit their reports so that the government will be able to provide assistance to their workers and employees.
Third, Bello said DOLE field offices will continue processing establishment reports even during the Holy Week to speed up the processing of assistance.
Similarly, he said that they have entered into an agreement with the Land Bank of the Philippines for the expeditious release and remittance of funds through their branches and automated teller machines (ATMs) nationwide.
“We are ready to process more requests if more establishments will submit their reports,” said Bello.
Labor groups have criticized DOLE’s worker assistance program due to its slow processing and government bureaucracy. They said complicated processes limit the number of worker-beneficiaries of CAMP.