By Samuel Medenilla, Businessmirror, 21 Jan 2021
THERE will no longer be a dedicated program this year from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to provide cash for workers affected by the Covid-19 lockdowns.
In a online forum on Wednesday, Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique R. Tutay disclosed no additional budget was allocated by Congress for their Covid Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) and Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong for OFWs (Akap).
CAMP is a one-time P5,000 cash aid for workers in the formal sector, while Akap is a one-time P10,000 financial assistance for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Both programs were launched by DOLE last year to help workers whose employment was disrupted by the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.
Instead of CAMP and Akap, Tutay said their assistance for Covid-affected workers will now be integrated in their regular programs.
She noted that a big amount of DOLE’s budget was allocated for their general-purpose Adjustment Measure Program (AMP) as well as their Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (Tupad) program, an emergency employment program for disadvantaged workers in the informal sector.
The labor official noted a P20 billion-P21 billion budget allocated for both programs, which are expected to serve as the flagship programs under the comprehensive National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) of the government for Covid-19.
“Based on our initial counting, around 3 million beneficiaries will benefit from both programs,” Tutay said.
She said NERS is expected to be finalized after it is presented to the social development cluster of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) on January 28, 2021.
“It will be a good venue for us to vet with other agencies our strategies and programs, which will be initially enrolled in the National Employment Recovery Strategy,” Tutay said.
Tutay said they are now 80 to 85 percent complete in the disbursement of their P7-billion budget for CAMP under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).
Of this budget, she said they distributed P4.7 billion to 952,000 workers.
Most of the remaining funds are for tourism sector, which has an allocation of P3.1 billion—good for 600,000 workers.
Currently, she said only 380,000 workers have accessed the program.
Tutay said they still accept applications for the program after President Duterte signed the law extending the effectivity of the Bayanihan 2 until June 2021.
Tourism workers displaced because of the economic impact of the pandemic may qualify for the program.
These include the workers of the Makati Shangri-La, which will temporary close its operations starting next month due to low number of clients during the pandemic.
“Our CAMP for the tourism sector is still open because of the extended Bayanihan 2,” Tutay said.