DOLE to aid workers affected by Duterte order vs PCSO games

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will provide assistance and emergency employment to workers affected by President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to suspend all gaming operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced this during a press briefing on Monday, July 29, saying the department was ready to address workers’ needs.

Kung magkakaroon ng unemployment then papasok naman kami to provide emergency employment (If there will be unemployment then we will come in to provide emergency employment),” Bello told reporters.

This comes after Duterte ordered a nationwide shutdown of all gaming schemes operated, licensed, and franchised by PCSO due to “massive corruption” in the agency.

Aside from this, DOLE Assistant Secretary Benjo Benavidez said workers can also apply for unemployment benefits with the Social Security System (SSS). If approved, workers can get up to two months of assistance.

Benavidez advised workers who planned to apply for unemployment benefits to secure a certification from DOLE that would affirm they were involuntarily unemployed. He added the department was currently working with SSS to ensure quick coordination for applications.

Following Duterte’s surprise order, labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said workers were nervous they would lose their jobs with prolonged closure of the agency. They urged Duterte to institute reforms in the PCSO as soon as possible to avoid compromising workers’ livelihoods.

Since Duterte’s last-minute directive to stop all PCSO operations on Friday, July 26, no written order has been issued.

Tthe PCSO earlier directed all its gaming offices to cease operations until they appeal for Duterte to reconsider his decision. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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