Over 1 million Filipino workers displaced due to coronavirus

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that over one million workers have now been displaced in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The department then urged employers, especially big businesses, to continue paying their workers.

In a statement on Sunday, April 12, DOLE reported that around 1,048,649 workers in the formal sector are either affected by temporary closures or by flexible work arrangements.

This is on top of nearly a quarter of a million workers from the informal sector who are in need of assistance under DOLE's Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers-Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko (TUPAD-BKBK) program.

Among those displaced in the formal sector, 719,649 workers have been affected due to the temporary closure of about 31,612 establishments. Meanwhile, 366,404 workers have been displaced due to 10,224 enterprises resorting to flexible work arrangements, which include reduction of workdays, work rotation, forced leave, and work from home or telecommuting.

Majority of the workers are part of the manufacturing, hotel, restaurant, and tourism-related sectors and the education sector, reported DOLE. (READ: DOLE issues guidelines for employers amid coronavirus outbreak)

Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calarbarzon regions had the most displaced workers as of Saturday, April 11. 

Due to this, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III pleaded again to businesses to take care of their workers.

"I once again knock on the kind hearts of our employers, especially the conglomerates and big businesses," said Bello. "Please extend further your generosity to your employees and workers. Your good-heartedness and compassion is a great help to the government."

The nearly 42,000 establishments in the formal sector have reported seeking DOLE's one-time assistance of P5,000 under its COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

CAMP chief OIC Assistant Secretary Dominique Rubia Tutay reported that around 180,000 have been served by the program, amounting to nearly P900 million in aid. However, with only P1.61 billion remaining, DOLE can only reach about 322,000 more workers.

As for aid to the informal sector, Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns Director Karen Trayvilla said the TUPAD-BKBK program has so far extended help to 138,000 workers as of Friday, April 10, and processed a total of 235,949 beneficiaries. – Rappler.com