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INFUSE MORE FUND TO DOLE EMERGENCY EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM – VILLANUEVA

Fresh funding must be infused into emergency employment programs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to stem the impact of mass layoffs, which have already started in the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME), according to Senator Joel Villanueva.

Despite the initial difficulties in the implementation of the programs, the DOLE has shown that it can reach a large number of distressed workers in the formal, informal, and migrant economy, Villanueva said.

“All the emergency employment programs of the labor department are able to serve a larger portion of our distressed workers. Funding of programs like CAMP (COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program) and TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Ating Distressed/Displaced Workers) should be continued especially since not all displaced workers are part of the essential sectors allowed to operate,” said the chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resource Development.

“We reiterate our call for our economic team to finance the programs of DOLE so it is able to reach workers in non-essential sectors.”

“We reiterate our call for our economic team to finance the programs of DOLE so it is able to reach workers in non-essential sectors. No worker should be left behind,” the veteran legislator added.

At a recent public hearing, the seasoned lawmaker credited DOLE’s emergency employment programs such as CAMP and TUPAD for informal workers, and the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) for overseas Filipino workers.

Of the reported 2.6 million workers in the formal economy affected by either temporary closures of businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CAMP has reached over 649,000 beneficiaries, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III. Beneficiaries who were not able to work or made to work under alternative work arrangements due to the enforced quarantine received a one-time cash assistance of P5,000.

“CAMP covers a broader group of workers, yet only 23% were served because of budget limitations.”

“We also take note that CAMP covers a broader group of workers, and yet only 23 percent were served because of budget limitations,” the senator said.

For TUPAD, over 300,000 informal workers have been served, according to the President’s 8th Bayanihan Report, while AKAP beneficiaries have reached over 100,000 OFWs. According to Bello, the labor department has received over 500,000 applications for AKAP, which gives OFWs a one-time cash assistance of $200 or P10,000.

He also cited the recognition of TUPAD as an efficient framework of distributing cash-for-work assistance as a justification for its continued funding.

“DOLE’s emergency employment programs should be continued because it will also serve as a transition for workers who are going back to their jobs and restarting their ability to earn a living,” Villanueva concluded.

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