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20 firms suspended operations, 300 workers affected —DOLE

The scare arising from the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has taken its toll on local business establishments as some opted to temporarily shut down operations, affecting hundreds of workers, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Wednesday.

Citing reports of DOLE’s regional offices on COVID-19 prevention and control at workplaces, Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay said, “Meron pong around 20 establishments who went to temporary suspension of operations, which involve a little over 300 workers.”

“These are from regions 6, 7, and 12,” Tutay said during a press conference in Manila.

For her part, Labor Undersecretary Ana Dione said that affected businesses are mostly hotels, restaurants, and tourism-related establishments amid reduced tourism activities in light of caution due to COVID-19 threat.

Stakeholders of the Philippine tourism industry are now bleeding due to the global health scare of COVID-19, with hotels opting to temporarily close down and air carriers incurring millions of losses.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said tourist arrivals have dropped 41% in February due to the outbreak.

To mitigate the impact of possible workers’ displacement due to the epidemic, Dione said the DOLE is preparing a proposal to reposition its financial assistance programs such as the Adjustment Measures Program (AMP), Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantage/Displaced Workers Program (TUPAD), and Government Internship Program (GIP).

The DOLE will request the Department of Budget and Management for an initial amount of P2 billion to implement its financial assistance programs. —LDF, GMA News