Guidelines out for DOLE’s job, cash aid

MANILA, Philippines — Displaced workers who were unable to get assistance at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic can now avail themselves of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)’s employment and cash assistance program.

Separate guidelines issued by the DOLE for the implementation of Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) and COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) are set to take effect in a few days.

Under the guidelines, informal workers affected by the pandemic who applied on or before April 30 but were not assisted under the TUPAD program shall be prioritized in the second phase of the program’s implementation.

The DOLE previously reported that about half a million displaced workers applied for TUPAD benefits, but were unserved due to budgetary constraints.

The same guidelines provide that those who have been already assisted under TUPAD may avail themselves again of the TUPAD program under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.

Beneficiaries of TUPAD shall be hired to work for 14 to 16 days and be paid the prevailing minimum wage in their respective regions. Work shall be limited to four hours a day to reduce risks of exposure to COVID-19.

Under the CAMP, the DOLE shall provide cash assistance of P5,000 for displaced employees due to COVID-19, with preference to those previously employed in micro, small and medium enterprises.

The CAMP shall cover teaching and non-teaching personnel in both private and public education as well as displaced workers from the tourism sector.

Part of the CAMP is to provide access to affected workers with job opportunities suitable to their qualifications.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III reported that as of Oct. 15, the DOLE has disbursed P1.59 billion for the emergency employment of 423,511 informal workers under TUPAD.

Bello said the DOLE also shelled out P3.31 billion for the distribution of cash assistance to 658,886 displaced formal workers under CAMP.

P3 billion aid for displaced tourism workers

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the DOLE have pledged to provide work and cash aid to tourism workers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under DOT-DOLE Joint Memorandum Circular 2020-001, both agencies will implement cash-for-work and will distribute one-time cash assistance for employees of tourism businesses who lost jobs and income due to government restrictions brought about by the pandemic.

Workers who will qualify can either apply for cash-for-work, or avail themselves of one-time cash assistance worth P5,000, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement yesterday.

The two agencies specified the following as eligible for the government aid: employees of DOT-accredited tourism enterprises and local government unit (LGU)-licensed primary tourism enterprises that have retrenched their workforces or have undergone temporary or permanent closure; and members of duly registered Community-Based Tourism Organizations (CBTOs) that were affected by the pandemic.

Tour guides accredited by the DOT and given license by local governments are also qualified for the cash-for-work program or the cash aid.

Puyat estimated that distressed employees from a total of 7,951 DOT-accredited primary tourism enterprises and an estimated 8,433 LGU-licensed primary tourism enterprises would benefit from the program.

Tourism employees or tour guides who are not recognized by the DOT could still apply for cash-for-work program through the DOLE’s TUPAD and CAMP programs, the DOT noted.

Under the joint memorandum, which was signed last Friday, the Bayanihan 2 law has allotted P3 billion for aid to employees of DOT-accredited tourism enterprises and P100 million for DOT-recognized tour guides.

Puyat thanked Bello for the partnership as well as lawmakers for the passage of Bayanihan 2 law that ensured government funds for aid for displaced tourism employees.

Under the Bayanihan 2 law, the government is authorized to realign as much as P165 billion worth of pre-allocated funds from the 2020 national budget.

It will be the second time that the DOT will give financial and employment aid for retrenched tourism workers, as the agency and the Department of Finance provided subsidy worth P5,000 to P8,000 for the wages of over 155,000 tourism workers in May.

The tourism industry was among the industries in the country that suffered due to travel restrictions to avoid the transmission of COVID-19. The DOT has estimated billions of pesos in losses by the tourism businesses. – Ghio Ong

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