Govt mulls insurance for crisis-hit workers

Published by rudy Date posted on March 24, 2009

THE National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it would recommend a P6-billion unemployment insurance program for Filipinos who lost their jobs due to the global financial crisis.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Ralph Recto told reporters that he will propose during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday the program, which could cover 100,000 to 200,000 jobless Filipinos.

“There will be more job losses [now] than during the Asian financial crisis,” he said, adding the previous crisis threw 80,000 Filipinos out of their jobs.

Under the current crisis, the NEDA chief said around “60,000 to 200,000 jobs could be lost.”

Recto proposed that the Social Security System (SSS) provide the unemployment insurance considering that those who were expected to lose jobs are its members.

“The financial assistance could last up to six months and those who lost their jobs could apply personally to SSS offices,” he said.

Under his proposal, Recto said the members could get either P5,000 or P10,000 a month, depending on the number of beneficiaries, adding the SSS and NEDA have yet to discuss the mechanics of the plan.

Recto, however, said that if SSS will turn down the proposal, the national government should shoulder the insurance.

“I think we can afford this,” he said, adding the insurance would not be a “dole out.”

Earlier, SSS announced that it is offering an emergency fund amounting to P500 million for workers who lost their jobs because of the global financial crisis.

Displaced workers could apply for a loan of up to P15,000 from the emergency fund, the pension fund said.

The SSS said borrowers would be given a 12-month grace period before paying their amortization, which would be remitted in 24 monthly installments. –Darwin G. Amojelar, Reporter, Manila Times

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