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The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported on Tuesday that over 630,000 workers have been displaced either by temporary closure or flexible work arrangements due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“As of March 31, our field monitoring already recorded more than 630,000 workers displaced either by reason of temporary closure or flexible work arrangements as reported by 15,213 establishments,” said DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III in a statement.

Of the number, 169,232 belong to the informal sector, he added.

Bello said they have released PHP160 million to the affected workers.

“We have so far distributed PHP160 million and we are accelerating the release of assistance to all those affected,” he added.

Bello also appealed to establishments to submit requirements for their workers to avail of the cash assistance under its Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

“I, therefore, appeal again to companies that, for the sake of your employees and workers, submit your reports so that we may be able to extend them their most needed assistance under the Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program,” he said.

Bello said the cash aid is different from the allocation of between PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 in subsidy that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other agencies are providing under the Bayanihan to Heal As One law.

“While the new law provides cash and non-cash Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) for two months based on the prevailing regional wage rates, the DOLE’s CAMP is one-time quarantine assistance,” he said.

The ESP targets families with at least one member belonging to vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors such as senior citizens, persons with a disability, pregnant and lactating women, solo parents, overseas Filipinos in distress, indigent indigenous peoples, underprivileged sector and homeless citizens, and informal economy workers.

“Among these programs are DSWD’s food and non-food items, cash assistance to individuals in crisis, and livelihood assistance grants; cash assistance of Department of Agriculture to rice farmers; and other programs of the Department of Trade and Industry,” Bello said.

The DOLE also administers the Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko (BKBK) work scheme of DOLE’s Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.

It provides the equivalent of a daily minimum wage for 10 days of work for the informal sector workers. (PNA)

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