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Only small portion of pandemic-displaced workers received aid from DOLE —official

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday admitted that only a small portion of workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic had received assistance from the department due to limited budget.

During a budget hearing at the House of Representatives, DOLE Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay said only around 1 million affected workers received help from their department.

“Tama po 'yung observation niyo. Maliit po 'yung portion ng unemployed, both in formal and informal [sectors], na naabot po ng tulong ng DOLE,” Tutay said.

“Meron lamang po kaming about 1 million, both workers in formal and informal sector, na naayudahan,” she added.

Tutay made the statement when Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite asked if the assistance only reached a few workers considering that there were P7.3 million people that were reported unemployed in April.

Based on the 2021 National Expenditure Program, the DOLE is set to receive a general fund of P27.01 billion, which includes the budget of its attached agencies.

DOLE Director Warren Miclat said the budget approved by the Department of Budget and Management is not enough compared to the DOLE’s original budget proposal of P76 billion.

He said P40 billion of the original proposed budget are planned to be used for assistance programs to help workers recover from the pandemic such as cash aid, livelihood projects, and emergency employment.

Due to this, some lawmakers suggested an additional budget for DOLE so it could provide help to workers who are affected by COVID-19.

The lockdown implemented in March by the national government has resulted in businesses stopping operations either temporarily or permanently. —KBK, GMA News