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DOLE programs cushion COVID-19 impact on workers

December 31, 2020 - Thursday 6:12 PM by PNA

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MANILA – As the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic impaired various industries around the world, Filipino workers here and abroad were not spared from its economic impact.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said close to 400,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) displaced by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have reunited with their families.

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, some 388,000 as of this week, were repatriated by the government through the assistance of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

“As of December 29, the OWWA under administrator Has Leo Cacdac has successfully repatriated 388,000 plus OFWs. When we say repatriated, they were able to go home to their final destination,” Bello added.

The government has started sending home OFWs en masse in May where returning Filipino workers were transported back to their home regions thru air, sea and land transportation.

Aside from emergency assistance, OFWs also benefitted from the DOLE’s social amelioration programs.

A total of 25,679 OFW dependents were granted support to finish their short-term and degree courses; 10,802 OFWs who were victims of illegal recruitment and trafficking-in-person were assisted; 1.5 million OFWs were given training, case management, repatriation, and livelihood assistance.

Cash, employment assistance

Bello reported that 658,886 workers in the private sector benefitted from the Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program or CAMP with PHP3.311 billion in assistance from their regular fund.

Also, 423,511 workers in the informal sector were able to receive PHP1.591 billion in emergency employment under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.

Beneficiaries of the program were hired and paid based on the prevailing minimum wage in the region where they are in.

Close to PHP3.5 billion in cash assistance was disbursed to close to 350,000 OFWs displaced by the pandemic under the AKAP or the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong program funded under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1).

Meanwhile, under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), a total of PHP16.4 billion for cash assistance was allocated to DOLE.

Of the amount, PHP4.1 billion was allotted under CAMP for formal sector workers, PHP300 million under CAMP for private educational institution workers, and PHP3.1 billion under CAMP for tourism sector workers.

Some PHP6.2 billion for TUPAD for informal sector workers; Php239 million for the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program or DOLE Kabuhayan Program; PHP2 billion for AKAP; and PHP500 million for OWWA’s Emergency Repatriation Program.

Other programs

The DOLE also reported that a total of 34,563 youth were enlisted to the Special Program for Employment of Students; 1.8 million workers and job seekers were provided with up-to-date labor market information, and over a million job seekers were placed through the Public Employment Service Offices.

Meanwhile, 4,234 seafarers have finished the Maritime Training Program, while 53,515 graduates of professional courses were administered with licensure examinations.

The Employees Compensation Commission released P827 million to some 80,000 workers and granted P20.7 million cash assistance for Covid-19 cases to more than 2,000 frontline workers.

Workers protection amid pandemic

A total of 82,593 establishments were inspected for general labor standards compliance, exceeding our target of 64,000 for the year.

Under the Single Entry Approach (SEnA), 51,244 workers have benefited and received around PHP3.2 billion in monetary awards.

Under the Preventive Mediation, 225 cases were disposed of while another 219 were settled, which benefitted 1,699 workers who received P101.2 million in monetary awards.

A total of 289,219 workers also benefitted from labor education and workers’ organization and development program.

Meanwhile, 2,291 workers have undergone the Occupational Health and Safety course.

The DOLE added that a wage increase was implemented in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley), and a salary hike for domestic workers to PHP4,000 took effect as well in two regions outside the National Capital Region.  Ferdinand Patinio