DOLE cash aid to initially benefit 9K workers in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional office in Bicol will start releasing next week financial assistance to some 9,000 workers affected by the new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

DOLE-Bicol regional director Joel Gonzales said the first set of workers in the region will benefit from PHP45.7-million aid after he ordered the fast-tracking of processing of qualified applications for DOLE’s Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

“The people are likely to run out of resources in the coming weeks. This means that they might unable to buy enough food for their family so we are following the call of the President and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III that we have to distribute the financial aid immediately," Gonzales said in an interview on Thursday.

As of April 2, DOLE-Bicol approved the CAMP applications of 541 establishments in the region. This covers the first set of beneficiaries totaling 9,144 qualified workers who will each receive PHP5,000.

To date, the number of private establishments that applied for CAMP has reached 5,336. These firms have implemented flexible working arrangements (FWAs) or temporary closure in compliance with DOLE Labor Advisory No. 9, series of 2020.

Out of the 5,336 applicants, at least 425 private establishments are on pending status as they still have to submit the complete requirements.

Gonzales said these applicants have to comply with the needed requirements so their CAMP applications could be processed.

“Our personnel are informing each one of them via call or email to correct the submissions,” he added.

To reduce delay in the CAMP application process, Gonzales appealed to all applicants to ensure that their requirements are “correct and clear” prior to submission.

He also asked the applicants to bear with them as DOLE is receiving an influx of applications and might not be able to immediately attend to their inquiries.

“We adopt shift work schedules by extending the normal working hours beyond the standard eight-hour shift. We have morning and evening shifts to accomplish everything. Some of our employees are now staying in the office. They stay here, and they sleep here to minimize the risk of virus exposure," he added.

Gonzales said some of their personnel who are working from home attend to the queries received from the DOLE-Bicol Hotlines and Facebook page.

To boost the morale of the DOLE-Bicol team, he also recognized everyone’s valuable contribution to helping cushion the financial difficulties of workers.

Through the collective effort and support of their personnel, Gonzales said it will be much easier for DOLE to achieve the end goal of delivering the needed assistance to thousands of workers who have been displaced and affected by the Covid-19 health crisis. (PNA)