Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III assured President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday that the labor department could weather the effects of new restrictions triggered by increasing coronavirus infections that may result in business closures and job losses.
“Okay naman kami. We are prepared to for any eventuality kasi maganda-ganda naman ang budgetary allocation na binigay niyo sa amin especially doon sa aming programa para sa mga informal workers, iyong sa programang TUPAD, Mr. President. Thank you for that,” Bello said during the President’s regular public address.
In his report to the President, Bello said that 100,000 to 200,000 workers would be affected by the declaration of Alert Level 3 restriction in Metro Manila.
These workers will either be temporarily laid off from their jobs or will have reduced number of working hours.
Anticipating the possibility of some of workers temporarily losing their jobs or having reduced working hours, the labor department is prepared to provide assistance, according to Bello.
In the case of the tourism industry, he said DOLE has allocated P50 million for the workers in the industry through the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).
“However, Mr. President, in case of worst scenario, we may be compelled to allocate P1 billion for workers who will be affected by this Alert Level 3,” Bello told the President.
“But having said that, Mr. President, we are very happy to report that so far as of today, only 3,284 workers were displaced nationwide, and this involves 267 business establishments.”
On the other hand, the total number of workers with reduced working hours or those under flexible working arrangements is only 5,762, he said, adding that so far, only 333 business establishments went into temporary closure.
“So, ito po, Mr. President, ang aming pinaghahandaan na kung saka-sakali ay handa naman ang Department of Labor na mag-provide ng one-time cash assistance sa mga displaced workers.”
DOLE is one of the government agencies with the highest budget allocation under the P5.024 trillion national budget for 2022 signed by President Duterte recently.
This year’s budget, which is 11.5 percent higher than the P4.506-trillion 2021 national budget, is crucial in the implementation of government’s response against the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery efforts, as well as to the devastation caused by Typhoon Odette. PND