Over 67K displaced âNCR Plusâ tourism workers get cash aid from DOT, DOLE
Visitors enjoy the roller coaster and other thrill rides at Enchanted Kingdom in Laguna in October 2020. Tourism activities have been halted in areas under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.
Geremy Pintolo

Over 67K displaced ‘NCR Plus’ tourism workers get cash aid from DOT, DOLE

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - April 12, 2021 - 9:36pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Departments of Tourism and Labor and Employment on Monday said that more than 67,000 displaced tourism workers beneficiaries in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, collectively known as NCR Plus, have been approved to receive the one-time P5,000 financial assistance under the DOT-DOLE Cash-For-Work Program of the Bayanihan 2.

Of the 67,347 beneficiaries from NCR Plus, 6,817 are based in Bulacan; 8,422 in Cavite; 14,161 in Laguna; 10,582 in Rizal, and 27,365 in NCR.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the total disbursements amounted to over P336.7 million as of April 6.

In a virtual ceremony, a total of 8,251 beneficiaries of the DOT-DOLE cash assistance program were recognized. Of these figures, 2,199 are from NCR; Bulacan, 901;  Cavite, 924;  Laguna, 2,490; and Rizal, 1,737, amounting to P41.2 million.

Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay clarified that the P41.2 million cash aid only accounts for the cash aid for tourism workers affected by the first week of Enhanced Community Quarantine reimposed from March 29 until April 4.

She added that there are 143,000 more beneficiaries whose applications were approved under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program. They have yet to receive the financial assistance totaling around P800 million.

Tourism beat reporters can apply for cash aid too 

Puyat and Tutay clarified that media workers who are covering the tourism beat and are qualified for financial aid may apply for assistance from DOLE.

Tutay explained that qualified media workers include freelancers and those whose publication or radio companies have closed down.

She said that DOLE would seek requirements such as identification card, proof of output that the media practitioner is covering the tourism sector or beat, and for an explanation how are they affected by the pandemic.

Puyat said that she is hopeful that the financial assistance will provide relief to the most affected stakeholders and tourism workers during these difficult times.

“While it may help in the short term, we believe that the best way to help stakeholders in the long run is to develop a tourism industry that is stronger, more resilient, and more adaptable to change,” Puyat said in her opening remarks.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, on the other hand, assured the workers that his agency will continuously provide “full support” to the workers in need.  

“In the coming months, as we start to put our economy on its track, we hope that our tourism stakeholders will get back on their feet, stronger than before,” he said.

Under the DOT-DOLE Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-001  or the Amended Implementing Guidelines on Providing Financial Assistance and Cash-For-Work Program for Displaced Workers in the Tourism Sector issued February, the agencies expanded its coverage of beneficiaries including Local Government-Licensed Tourism Support Service enterprises, providers and associations of providers.  

The DOT said that a total of 355,797 workers from 13,752 establishments, organizations, and associations nationwide, as well as 12,321 tourism workers who applied individually, have been approved to receive financial assistance with a total of P1.8 billion nationwide. The disbursement or pay out amounts to a total of P1.2 billion.

Programs for displaced workers of NCR Plus

Aside from the financial assistance, the DOT also collaborated with the local government units and the tourism stakeholders in NCR Plus to provide programs and circuits for tourism recovery.

The DOT cited that its Region 3 office developed a food mapping project for displaced workers in Bulacan to stimulate the province’s culinary and farm tourism destinations.

Meanwhile, the DOT Region4A is pushing for the Green Corridor Initiative and formulated three tourism circuits in CALABARZON to promote sustainability and health and safety campaigns under the new normal.

“These include Metro Tagaytay Tourism Circuit in Cavite, SaRiLiNa Tourism Circuit in Laguna, and the Faith, Food, Art, Adventure and Nature Experience Tourism Circuit in Rizal,” the DOT said.

In NCR, there are various domestic campaigns such as the Metro Manila Travel by Hubs covering ten cities within the region, and The Soul Circuit covering the regions of NCR, CALABARZON and Central Luzon.

“These are but a few of the many programs the DOT has taken part or initiated around our regions to help the tourism industry in its recovery,” Puyat said.

“Like the national government, which is taking a ‘whole of nation’ approach in its massive vaccination campaign, we, too, are hoping for the continued support of our LGUs around the country, and the private sector to push our recovery forward,” she added.

Puyat said that tourism activities remain prohibited under the NCR Plus as non-essential travels are not allowed under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.

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