DOLE's emergency jobs program may need up to P15 billion funding, Bello says

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2020 12:46 AM

The Department of Labor and Employment plans to provide minimum wage jobs to workers in the informal sector for 3 to 6 months under its emergency employment program "TUPAD". ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) plans to provide minimum wage jobs to workers in the informal sector for 3 to 6 months under the "Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers" (TUPAD) program.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the enhanced TUPAD program targets to benefit 2 million to 3 million informal sector workers affected by business disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He estimated that the program may need P10 billion to P15 billion funding.

“Kung mabibigyan niyo kami ng enhanced TUPAD program of 3-6 months, baka this may require about P10-15 billion,” Bello told the House Committee on Labor and Employment on Wednesday.

“Medyo malaki-laki yatang pera ang kailangan n’yo Sec.,” Committee Chairman and 1-PACMAN Party-list Rep. Enrico Pineda said.

The government is eyeing to grant wage subsidies to help employers preserve jobs. This is part of the proposed Philippine Economic Stimulus Act.

“Between 25 percent to 75 percent cash subsidy sa employers para yung empleyado nila hindi tanggalin at dadagdagan pa,” Bello said.

He added that the government talked to leaders of the construction industry to hire additional workers as they implement the administration’s build build build program.

“Sinasabi namin sa mga leaders ng construction industry na instead of mechanizing your works, baka pwedeng gawin niyo nang manualized na lang. ‘Wag na kayong gumamit ng backhoe, gumamit na lang kayo ng additional workers,” Bello said.

Data from DOLE show that the number of permanently and temporarily displaced workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic now stands at more than 2.7 million. Bello said this figure could go up to 5 to 10 million if the pandemic persists.

DOLE’s record also show that the pandemic has displaced around 322,000 overseas Filipino workers. Of this figure, 62,000 remain stranded in different countries due to lockdowns.

As the government anticipates the arrival of 44,000 repatriated OFWs this May and June, it is fast-tracking efforts to send home the 24,000 OFWs stuck in Metro Manila. Bello said close to 7,000 OFWs returned home last Monday and Tuesday.

“Hopefully...we send off a bigger number kasi nakakuha kami ng barko who will bring OFWs to their respective destinations,” Bello said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday gave government agencies a week to bring some 24,000 OFWs to their home provinces. 

The Department of the Interior and Local government had assured local government units that the returning OFWs underwent quarantine and have health certificates to prove that they are clear of the virus.