DOLE aid for workers seen to resume after fund replenishment calls

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Sunday said it is possible to resume with its cash assistance to formal sector workers with fresh moves in Congress calling for the augmentation of funds for DOLE’s emergency subsidy program.

“We are hopeful that some positive developments are coming along the way for our displaced workers,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a press release.

Bello cited efforts by lawmakers led by Senators Joel Villanueva and Christopher Bong Go to pump additional funding to the Covid Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) that provides a PHP5,000 one-time assistance to workers affected by the national emergency due to the coronavirus disease (Covid 19).

“We are grateful to Senators Villanueva and Go for their unwavering support in helping our workers tide over during this health crisis,” Bello said.

Last week, DOLE announced it has stopped accepting requests for assistance under CAMP after having been swamped with volumes of applications quickly depleting its measly PHP1.6-billion fund for the program.

Augment funds

Villanueva has called on the Department of Budget and Management to augment the funding for DOLE’s assistance program to aid displaced workers which, as of April 17, stood at 1,696,814 from 63,335 reporting establishments nationwide.

Of this number, more than 1.2 million workers were affected by temporary closures while over 550,000 of them are on alternative work arrangements like reduced workdays, rotation, forced leave and telecommuting.

Ninety-eight percent of establishments which reported work displacements are seeking the CAMP assistance for their workers.

So far, a total of 264,154 workers were extended the cash assistance amounting to PHP1.320 billion.

DOLE said this leaves the assistance fund a small balance of less than PHP300 million as of April 18.