Gov't offers one-time P5,000 assistance to displaced private workers
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued Department Order 209 providing for assistance to lockdown-affected workers.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, File

Gov't offers one-time P5,000 assistance to displaced private workers

Prinz Magtulis (Philstar.com) - March 17, 2020 - 4:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — Private workers losing jobs as a result of the Luzon-wide lockdown until April 12 can secure a P5,000 lump-sum assistance from the government, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Tuesday.

The assistance, called the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), will be coursed through their employers who would need to apply to the program. Following application, the benefit will be credited "directly" to employee bank accounts "within two weeks," DOLE said in its Department Order 209.

The financial assistance is the latest of the economic measures announced by the Duterte administration, five days after initially putting only Metro Manila in community quarantine, a drastic measure targeted to halt the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) contagion in the capital.

On Monday, the lockdown was further "enhanced" to cover the entire Luzon, putting in isolation 61.82 million Filipinos, about 57% of the estimated 107.3 million population as of July, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The community quarantine effectively halted business and commerce in Luzon, affecting millions of workers including those from small- and medium- enterprises, which DOLE said is the target of CAMP. The Luzon island accounts for nearly three-quarters of economic output as of 2018.

Small establishments such as sari-sari stores, mini groceries, and barbershops may apply to the program on behalf of their workers. Government employees are not qualified. "Large establishments are highly encouraged to cover the full wages of employees within the one-month community quarantine period," the order stated. 

Since the assistance will be coursed through the employers, the businesses themselves would need to apply before DOLE regional and field offices, submitting an establishment report and company payroll for the month affected by the lockdown.

Provided documents are complete and barring potential ineligibility from the program, DOLE assures applicants that their submissions will be approved "within three working days from receipt."

Two weeks after that, the benefit would be credited to the bank accounts of employees. A "notice of completion" will then be issued to the business as proof that it already availed of the one-time aid.

Apart from cash assistance, DOLE is also offering affected workers "job matching and coaching" for temporary employment at their offices.

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