DOLE: P5,000 cash aid for Luzon workers affected by lockdown

Workers affected by the Luzon-wide lockdown can receive a lump-sum cash aid of P5,000 from the government, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Tuesday, March 17.

Dubbed as "COVID-19 Adjustment Program Measure" or CAMP, the program offers financial support to workers whose companies either implemented flexible work arrangements or had to close temporarily because of the government's lockdown order to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

Bello signed Department Order 209 on CAMP on Tuesday.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) earlier advised companies to use up employees' leave credits for those who won't work from home during the lockdown. CAMP serves to augment the salaries of private sector workers for days that won't be covered by leave credits.

"The financial assistance may be used to cover remaining unpaid leaves of affected workers. A one-time financial assistance equivalent to P5,000 shall be provided to affected workers in lump sum, non-conditional, regardless of employment status," the deparment order read.

Small and medium private establishments need to apply for their employees. They need to show the establishment report and the company payroll for the month before they implemented work-from-home policies or temporary closure.

If approved, the concerned DOLE regional office will issue the aid directly to the beneficiaries' payroll accounts through bank transfer within two weeks from receipt of the notice of approval.

Apart from private establishments, Bello also announced that it will be rolling out at least P180 million in emergency employment funds under the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program for some 18,000 informal sector workers.

"The initial allocation for TUPAD will pay for barangay works to disinfect the communities, while the CAMP represents financial assistance to the quarantine-displaced workers," Bello said.

Under Department Order No. 210, informal sector workers can participate in the "Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko" project under the TUPAD program, which will focus on disinfection and sanitization of houses within the vicinity of the worker's house.

Wage is equivalent to 100% of the prevailing minimum wage in the region. Beneficiaries will also be enrolled to micro-insurance.

Those participating in the program will have to work up to 10 days. This means if they are from Metro Manila, they will be receiving P5,370 for 10 days of work.

Appeal to conglomerates

Bello on Tuesday also appealed to conglomerates to take care of their employees. Under DO 209, "large establishments are highly encouraged to cover the full wages of employees within the one-month community quarantine."

"I particularly make this appeal to the owners and managements of Filipino conglomerates like SM, Ayala, Yuchengco, Aboitiz, Metro Pacific, SMC, Summit, Villar and similar groups of companies who can very well take care of their workers and employees for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine," Bello said.

President Rodrigo Duterte made the same appeal to businesses when he announced the lockdown in Luzon on Monday night.

In a statement on Tuesday, AyalaLand Malls said that it will look for alternative duties for workers affected by the mall closure. All Ayala Malls have been temporarily closed starting Monday, March 16.

"Ayala Malls is mindful of the impact of the malls closure on its staff, especially on its daily wage earners, and intends to find solutions to ensure that they continue to have a source of livelihood," AyalaLand Malls Inc president Jennylle Tupaz said.

"To keep workers employed, the company will look for alternative duties within the mall, consider opportunities for redeployment, allocate shifts, and work with the service agencies in providing continuous employment. It will also seek guidance from the DOLE for a more sustainable solution," she added.

Tupaz said that Ayala Malls will also offer a rent reprieve for merchants affected by the temporary closure.

Tycoon Manny Pangilinan, meanwhile, said that he was heeding President's  call.

"The MVP Group is one with the President in coping with this virus. We are helping our employees by maitaining their salaries and benefits during the crisis," Pangilinan said.

"We have asked them to work from home. We continue to serve our customers with the service they need at this time, including the provision of relevant financing, when required," he added. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.

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