February 3, 2023

At least 10,000 workers in the Cordillera are expected to be affected by the ongoing crisis wrought by the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, according to the Department of Labor and Employment regional office.
In a media briefing Thursday, DOLE-Cordillera Director Exequiel Ronie Guzman said the Covid-19 has created a massive suspension of work and resulted to displacement of workers either permanently or temporarily, particularly in establishments such as hotels, restaurants, retail and service, English as secondary language schools, and other establishments which have closed due to the Luzon-wide precautionary measures ordered by the national government and respective measures of local government units.
Aside from employed workers, also affected are earners in the informal sector or those who do not have employer-employee relationship such as vendors and jeepney drivers.
The Labor department has two adjustment measure packages to offer.
Guzman said first is the P5,000 financial support from the department that may be availed of by workers in the private sector who are considered formal workers or those who have employer-employee relationship.
The assistance package will be given to workers who were suspended or have reduced their working time and went into flexible working arrangement as a result of the Covid-19 situation.
To avail of the assistance, the employer should file an application by submitting a report on how their establishment has been affected by the crisis and a copy of the employee’s payroll showing the salary before the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine policy.
The application and establishment report on Covid-19 forms may be downloaded from the DOLE website. The application should be done online to minimize personal contact. After evaluation by DOLE’s crisis management team and approval, the P5,000 financial assistance will be sent directly to the bank account of the concerned employee, upon release of the budget to the regional office.
A P10-million standby fund has been allocated for the Cordillera for this assistance.
The regional office, Guzman said, has already received about 2,000 applications, mostly from Baguio City.
“We are expecting the number to increase, estimating about 10,000 applications, as we have received reports of declaration of states of calamity and emergency from other provinces such as Kalinga and Ifugao, which have hotels and retail and service industries,” Guzman said.
The second package is the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa ating Disadvantaged workers or Tupad emergency employment assistance program, which provides a short-term employment period from 10 to 20 days and covers workers in the informal sector.
The program will be implemented in partnership with local government units, which shall identify the beneficiaries who should be bona fide residents and are informal sector workers.
DOLE will shoulder the daily wage, which will be based on the highest minimum wage rate prevailing in the region.
In the private sector, Guzman has appealed to employers to avail of the assistance for their workers, since the DOLE cannot force the employers to do the same.
“Please do it for your employees. In this time of crisis, wala silang matatakbuhan so do it for them kung wala na kayong maibigay naibang support,” he said.
Big companies are also encouraged to release their employees’ 13th month pay, cash advance equivalent to half month pay, or for them to pay the unused leave credit to sustain them until the enhanced community quarantine order is lifted. – Hanna C. Lacsamana