DoLE worker assistance disbursements top P5B

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THE DEPARTMENT of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has disbursed more than P5 billion worth of cash assistance to over one million workers whose employment was affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency。

DoLE said in a statement Thursday that it “disbursed about P4.44 billion out of its regular budget and a separate P1.05 billion in emergency funds” to help workers who were displaced during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed on March 17 in Luzon and in other areas.

A total of 1,059,387 workers have availed of the subsidies and assistance via the following channels: the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP); the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers, Barangay Ko Bahay Ko (TUPAD BKBK) program; and the DoLE AKAP program.

CAMP ceased accepting applications on April 15 after DoLE announced that funding was not sufficient to accommodate over 1.6 million applicants for the one-time cash subsidy to private sector workers displaced because of the ECQ. Some 618,722 formal sector workers from 31,972 establishments have received aid from CAMP while 35,723 workers are expected to receive their assistance this week before CAMP officially closes operations. Total disbursements are estimated at P3.093 billion.

Under the TUPAD BKBK program, 337,198 informal sector workers availed of emergency employment and assistance, on which the department spent P1.348 billion.

The AKAP program, which gives displaced and disadvantaged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) one-time cash assistance of P10,000 or $200, has registered 103,467 OFW beneficiaries. DoLE added, “About P1.05 billion has been disbursed of the P1.5 billion special funds released for the program for an estimated 150,000 OFWs.”

DoLE requested an additional P2 billion to help other OFWs who applied for AKAP assistance. The program had 368,703 applications as of May 5. — Gillian M. Cortez