The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Wednesday it has realigned some P1.5 billion of its 2020 budget to provide a one-time P5,000 cash assistance to additional 300,000 workers.
The additional 300,000 workers were already processed under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), DOLE said.
To recall, the DOLE has stopped accepting applications for the CAMP to give for the Department of Finance’s wage subsidy program for middle-income workers.
The budget realignment was ordered by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III “to enable DOLE to assist more formal sector workers displaced by the COVID pandemic, which has ballooned to over 2.3 million.”
As of April 28, the DOLE said some 87,301 establishments reported that over 1.6 million of their workers were affected by temporary closures while 797,729 were on alternative work arrangements due to quarantine measures being implemented to arrest the spread of the disease.
With internally sourced funds, DOLE said it will now be able to assist a total of about 650,000 workers with P3.24 billion in total CAMP assistance budget.
So far, the Labor department said it has already provided assistance to 407,300 under CAMP.
Further, around 58,000 beneficiaries were so far given the one-time cash assistance with the infusion of the realigned funds.
On OFW assistance, DOLE said it has provided the P10,000 cash assistance to more than 70,000 OFWs or close to 50% of targeted beneficiaries of the P1.5 billion AKAP assistance fund.
From reports of the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices and local offices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, more than 297,000 OFWs are seeking the cash assistance.
Meanwhile, the Labor department said it will commence next month its regular Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program in areas outside of the extended enhanced community quarantine.
The program will utilize a separate P1 billion realigned regular funds of the DOLE.
It said it had already used up over P1 billion to fund the emergency TUPAD Barangay Ko Bahay Ko (TUPAD BKBK) to assist informal sector workers hit hard by the pandemic.
It had 275,000 beneficiaries.
The program was recently cited by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization having been adopted specifically for informal sector workers and adopted by only 11 countries to mitigate the impact of the global crisis.
Aside from the Philippines, the other countries cited for such programs are Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Egypt, Australia, Thailand, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia.—AOL, GMA News