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DOLE looking for funds to assist ECQ-affected workers

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is looking for funding sources for possible assistance to workers who will be affected by the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila starting August 6. 

At the Laging Handa briefing on Monday, Labor Undersecretary Benjo Santos Benavidez said the agency has yet to determine whether it would use its available budget or ask for additional funds from the Department of Budget and Management. 

The DOLE previously handed out cash assistance to cushion the impact of the pandemic on workers. 

Malacañang earlier announced that Metro Manila would be placed under ECQ, the strictest level of COVID-19 curbs, from August 6 to 20 to mitigate the spread of the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant. The region is currently under general community quarantine with heightened and additional restrictions.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said last Friday that each week of ECQ in the National Capital Region—the Philippines’ economic center—would cost the economy P105 billion and result in a loss of 444,000 jobs. 

However, Chua said the economic impact of the strict lockdown “can be partly reversed if we use the three weeks to accelerate vaccination of everyone in the high risk areas.” 

“This way, the ECQ will be an investment to pave the way for a recovery once we control Delta spread,” the country’s chief economist said. —KG, GMA News