Displaced, suspended workers in Philippines to receive one-time cash aid

Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III calls for help from employers

Displaced, suspended workers in Philippines to receive one-time cash aid

The Philippine Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) is giving out P5,000 worth of one-time cash aid to displaced and suspended workers after several provinces were placed under a tighter Alert Level 3 restriction. Curbs escalated over the past weeks due to an Omicron-driven surge that started in the capital region and has eventually made its way to other provinces.

Under Alert Level 3, some businesses are limited to 30% capacity for indoor settings and 50% for outdoor venues. This led to some scaling down in some sectors, including transportation, accommodation, restaurant, and manufacturing, according to Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III.  Bello said the number of workers displaced has reached over 12,000 so far, but their estimates project up to 200,000 terminated workers either permanently or temporarily.

To assist them, the government allocated a total of P1 billion of cash aid, where every displaced and suspended worker can be granted P5,000 each. Exempted from the programme, however, are government employees, foreign nationals, and beneficiaries of another financial assistance program by DOLE and the Department of Tourism.

Read more: Philippine's private sector urged to provide paid isolation, quarantine leave

Bello asks for help from employers

The latest cash assistance programme will see thousands of workers lining up or flooding the online application system to receive their one-time grants. Bello, in a local radio interview, then sought the assistance of the former employers of the displaced and suspended workers. He said that they should provide DOLE with the list of workers who were laid off to expedite the process and make it easier for the beneficiaries to receive the funds.

According to Bello, DOLE will remit the cash aid to employers so they will be the ones to give it to their displaced staff.

The instruction was not mandatory, and Bello said that if employers were unable to give the list, the employees can go through the process on their own by signing up to the department's website.

The workers just need to present their company ID and prove to the department that they were suspended or fired from their jobs due to the implementation of Alert Level 3, according to Bello.

"On the basis of that, we will immediately remit to you the 5,000 to the remittance centre," the secretary said in an interview.

The Philippines has reported over 3.4 million cases as of January 24, with active cases at 262,997.

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