DOLE relaxes rules for worker assistance during lockdown

TO accommodate more beneficiaries, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday announced it has relaxed its requirements for its cash aid for formal sector workers affected by the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

In statement, Labor and Employment Secretary Silveste H. Bello III said they will no longer strictly require the submission of the company payroll in the establishment report for companies, which benefited from their  Covid Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

CAMP provides Covid-affected workers with a P5,000 one-time cash grant. 

“Any proof of payment of salaries and wages will be sufficient compliance with the requirement,” Bello said.

He also guaranteed 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 is “to encourage more companies to submit their reports so that the government will be able to provide assistance to their workers and employees,” Bello said.

DOLE issued the reform amid complaints from some workers who claimed their employers refused to apply for CAMP.

Bello also assured that DOLE’s regional offices will continue processing the CAMP applications even during the Holy Week.

“We have entered into an agreement with Land Bank for the expeditious release and remittance of funds through their branches and automated teller machines (ATMs) nationwide,” Bello said.

 DOLE said they have already distributed  P1.2 billion worth of CAMP benefits to 250,000 workers through Land Bank.

Additional funding

CAMP and DOLE’s emergency employment program for Covid-affected informal sector workers, Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD)-Barangay ko, Bahay Ko (BKBK), had been criticized by Defend Jobs Philippines since its initial target beneficiaries were only pegged at 300,000.

The number of beneficiaries was significantly lower, Defend Jobs Philippines, than the 1.8 million workers, which DOLE said, will be affected by the business disruptions due to Covid-19.   

The Associated Labor Union (ALU) said it hopes the additional P5 billion that will be allocated to DOLE for both programs will allow it to increase the number of beneficiaries.

To note, DOLE was give P1.5 billion for the implementation of CAMP and TUPAD-BKBK. 

On Tuesday the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) announced it already approved the P5-billion funding request of DOLE.

Bello, however, said the IATF approval of their budget request will only be finalized once it is affirmed by President Duterte. 

Image Credits: Roy Domingo

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