More than 93 percent of the P16-billion allocation of the Department of Labor and Employment for the assistance to workers in the formal and informal sectors, including OFWs, has been downloaded to DOLE regional and overseas offices in the run up to the expiration of Bayanihan 2 on December 19.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the early release of the funds for beneficiaries of the assistance programs will enable the labor department to meet the deadline in aid distribution set by the Bayanihan law.
The fresh infusion of cash assistance for workers is guaranteed under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) signed by President Rodrigo Duterte to help workers affected or displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The assistance includes financial aid under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) and Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong (AKAP) Program;
emergency employment under Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) Program;
and livelihood assistance under DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP), Bello added.
Of the said release, P7.4 billion will be allocated for CAMP, which is a safety-net program that offers financial support to workers in private establishments that have adopted flexible work arrangements or temporary closure during the pandemic.
Through CAMP, affected workers, regardless of their employment status, will be receiving one-time financial assistance equivalent to P5,000.
DOLE has recently adopted an online application system to fast-track the processing of CAMP applications.
Bello advised workers and establishments in the private sector to apply online at https://reports.dole.gov.ph. As for TUPAD, total of P4.9 billion has been allocated under Bayanihan 2.
It aims to provide temporary wage employment to workers in the informal sector who were displaced or whose earnings were affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help OFWs financially, DOLE has also been extending a one-time P10,000 or $200 cash aid under the AKAP program to OFWs whose incomes were affected by the pandemic.
A total of P1.8 billion financial aid was allocated for OFWs who were repatriated and who are onsite.
Following the directive of President Duterte to enable more OFWs to benefit from the one-time cash assistance, Bello said the labor department has streamlined the process of AKAP applications.
OFWs who will be repatriated to the Philippines may now file their AKAP application before they arrive in the country, and receive their benefits within three to five days upon submission of complete documents.
From the downloaded fund over the weekend, P132 million of it was allotted for the DILP or Kabuhayan Program, a program of DOLE that provides sustainable self-employment through easy to learn livelihood activities.