Gov't may wire workers their subsidy if employers remiss with requirements

MANILA, Philippines – What if employers fail to submit their payroll to the government? How then would displaced employees receive their subsidy during the coronavirus lockdown?

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III answered these questions during Malacañang’s regular Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday, March 31.

"Ang gagawin namin niyan, i-advise 'yung worker na sabihin 'yung mga kasamahan niyang worker na mag-submit sa amin at ipapadala namin 'yung suweldo nila through 'yung Palawan [Express] o 'yung Lhuillier (wire transfer services).... Hindi na namin ipapadaan sa employer," Bello said.

(What we'll do in that case is advise the worker to tell their fellow workers to submit [the payroll] to us and we'll send their payout through Palawan [Express] or Lhuillier.... We won't course it through the employer anymore.)

Palawan Express, Cebuana Lhuillier, and M Lhuillier are popular money transfer services available in many parts of the country.

By "suweldo," Bello meant the P5,000 one-time cash handout that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is giving displaced workers – those whose income is temporarily lost or slashed because of their employers' reduced business hours or closure during the "enhanced community quarantine" or lockdown.

Under the DOLE's COVID-19 Adjustment Program Measure, employers are supposed to submit to the agency their payroll or list of employees whose salaries are affected by the lockdown.

Employers must prepare an establishment report and their previous month's payroll, as well as an application form downloadable from the DOLE website. Once the documents are completed, employers should send them through email to their local DOLE office.

Bello said the subsidy should be sent to the employer within 48 hours after the required documents were submitted.

The DOLE has earmarked P1.5 billion in subsidies for displaced local and overseas workers. Bello also mentioned additional amounts in the coming weeks, saying it is imperative that government assist displaced workers.

The entire Luzon as well as various cities, municipalities, and provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao are on lockdown in an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

As of Monday afternoon, March 30, the Philippines has recorded 1,546 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 78 deaths and 42 recoveries. – Rappler.com

JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.

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