DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A labor group questioned the government’s report that the COVID-19 economic relief has reached many workers.
Defend Jobs Philippines reacted on President Rodrigo Duterte’s second weekly report on the government’s COVID-19 response released Monday, which said the Department of Labor’s COVID-19 Assistance Measures Program (CAMP) has provided cash assistance to 88,388 workers worth P441.94 million.
The group observed that the target beneficiaries are “quite low” compared to the actual affected workers waiting and relying on the assistance program.
DOLE said they are targeting their assistance to 115,835 workers. Defend Jobs said that if DOLE reported they had given assistance to 88,388 workers, they are limiting the slots to just 27,447.
“The sudden ‘quota’ of the Labor Department for the CAMP defeats the purpose of their own Department Order and program of assisting all workers who were affected by flexible work arrangements and temporary shutdowns due to the ECQ and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Thadeus Ifurung, Defend Jobs Philippines spokesperson.
Ifurung added this quota reflects the “exclusionary characteristic of CAMP, inadequate aid and slow bureaucratic process.”
He said that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III’s estimate of 1.8 million workers affected by the pandemic is “conservative and unrealistic”.
The group cited figures from the economic research group Ibon Foundation which estimates around 11 million formal and non-formal workers are affected in Luzon island alone, which is placed under enhanced community quarantine.
And as the government announced the extension of the enhanced quarantine of Luzon until April 30, Ifurung urged the government to extend economic assistance to the workers and non-formal workers.
Ifurung said they acknowledge the need to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic in Luzon, but asked the government to prioritize adequate aid for the people.
“While the government address the medical concerns over the COVID-19 during the extended quarantine, it must at the same time resolve the basic needs and social welfare of our workers and people such as food and cash assistance for all,” Ifurung said. (davaotoday.com)