Lockdown displaces nearly 500K workers

    Construction workers are greatly affected by the lockdown. (Photo from pna.gov.ph)

    — With Ashzel Hachero

    LESS than month since the imposition of a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, nearly 500,000 workers have been adversely affected, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

    In a statement, Bello said that as of March 27, there were 435,061 displaced from the formal and informal sectors. He said 9,028 establishments reported 317,171 of their workers were displaced due to temporary closures or under flexible work arrangements. Another 117,890 informal sector workers were affected based on preliminary field reports, he said.

    Bello said he has ordered agencies to speed up the processing of the assistance to both formal and informal sector workers by, among others, relaxing requirements and exercising flexibility in processing applications.

     Under DOLE’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), all affected formal sector workers may avail of the P5,000 cash aid if their employers implemented flexible work arrangements or temporarily stopped operations.

    DOLE has also made available an emergency employment program for informal sector workers, where they will engage in sanitation and disinfection jobs for 10 days in exchange of minimum wages.


     The Department of Foreign Affairs said 370 Filipino crew members of three cruise ships in Italy were repatriated to the country Saturday evening,

    The 370 is the first batch of at least 4,000 Filipino seafarers set for repatriation in the next three weeks, due to a slump in cruise ship travels because of COVID-19.

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said 248 were crew members of MV Luminosa docked in Milan and 122 from MV Grandiosa and MV Opera in Rome.

    Locsin said all the Filipinos underwent medical check up for COVID-19 symptoms before they board the chartered flight back to Manila.

    “They will also undergo a 14-day, facility-based quarantine under the supervision of the Bureau of Quarantines,” he said.