By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA: The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Thursday that more than one million workers in both the formal and informal sectors, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), benefited from programs – worth over PHP5 billion – to cushion the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a statement, the agency said a total of 1,059,387 Filipinos have been provided cash aid amounting to about PHP4.44 billion from its regular budget and PHP1.05 billion in emergency fund.
The programs include the Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) and the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers, Barangay Ko Bahay Ko (TUPAD #BKBK) which is part of the response of the Duterte administration to mitigate the adverse economic effects of the health emergency on the low-income workers.
It added that the only remaining program is the assistance to OFWs under the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program, but also nearing completion with about 74 percent of the targeted beneficiaries already qualified for the release of the one-time USD200 (PHP10,000) cash assistance.
It added that 103,467 Filipinos were already listed as beneficiaries of the program representing displaced workers onsite and those repatriated or stranded in the country due to the community quarantine.
Some PHP1.05 billion have been disbursed of the PHP1.5 billion special fund released for the program for an estimated 150,000 OFWs.
Meanwhile, the DOLE said it would need additional PHP2 billion in emergency funds to be able to service a significant portion of the 368,703 OFWs who had sought the cash aid as of May 5.
For the same period, It added that a total of 618,722 formal sector workers from 31,972 micro, small and medium enterprises were extended the PHP5,000 cash assistance under CAMP.
The agency had spent PHP3.093 billion from the 2020 budget for the one-time assistance program. An additional 35,723 workers are expected to benefit from the cash aid as the CAMP program wraps up its operations this week.
The program started on March 23 until April 15 has received more than 1.6 million applications.
It also said under the TUPAD Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko (BKBK) program, some PHP1.348 billion of its regular budget were disbursed to finance the program benefiting a total of 337,198 workers in the informal sector.
They were given the 10-day emergency employment and were paid the minimum wage prevailing in their respective areas.
Their job involved the disinfection and sanitation of the beneficiaries’ dwellings and immediate vicinity to comply with the physical distancing protocol to prevent the spread of the virus.