The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced with regret the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) is suspended as of Wednesday, the 15th of April 2020. Tracing back to the reason why this was put up; President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire island of Luzon in an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), placing all the jobs and professions on hold.
With this, several government agencies made their part in contributing how they could assist formal sector and regular workers who have been affected by this. DOLE’s answer, is through CAMP or the cash aid due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Now, DOLE’s CAMP application is suspended; and as per their statement, the application volume was unbearable. DOLE said that they’re close to exhausting the budget that amounted to P1 billion.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announces with regret the suspension of acceptance of application for financial assistance under the Covid Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) for formal sector workers. Effective 5 p.m. of April 15, the online application has been closed. The labor department has been swamped with volumes of requests that the available fund for the program amounting to PHP1.6 billion is very close to being depleted.”
How many workers were provided the cash aid?
DOLE’s CAMP application is suspended and it sparked a lot of violent reaction especially in the sector of formal workers. Many were arguing about the fact that the majority of them weren’t able to receive the cash aid.
However, DOLE reported that they were able to provide at least 230,000 formal sector workers with cash assistance; this was since the 23rd of March. Moreover, they said that the budget they provided amounted to at least P1.2 billion.
In addition to that, they said that more than 10,000 establishments were given the cash aid. In their statement, it added that they are yet to pay 85,563 more workers in the coming days; they’re saying that it hasn’t been complete yet. Nevertheless, DOLE’s CAMP application is suspended.
Since the implementation of CAMP from March 23 to date, DOLE was able to provide the one-time PHP5,000 assistance to 236,412 workers from 10,663 establishments, with total cash disbursements of PHP1.2 billion. We have yet to pay 85,563 more workers in the coming days.”
Troubles in attending to all the applications nationwide
The reason for the suspension was due to the fact that they faced a lot of challenges attending to the 1.6 million CAMP applications in the entire country. With this, they said that they’re laying out various programs that would somehow make up for the incident. As per the agency, they’re already fast-tracking a recovery plan for employers and workers in the formal sector.
Our regional operations had enormous challenges in attending to the 1.6 million CAMP applications nationwide, but we are happy to extend assistance to those who had received the cash aid. We are preparing a menu of programs that will complement national efforts to effectively address the needs of the people.”
The agency said that they are closely working with other government agencies to remedy the situation. They said that they would ask for some kind of assistance from fellow offices of the government to amend the situation.
DOLE is working closely with other agencies, including Congress, for an immediate alternative program to help ease the burden on the greater number of workers who did not benefit from CAMP.”
The agency is hoping for the consideration and the understanding of all employers and workers. More so, we have to understand that type of situation is something that’s inevitable; being cash-strapped is normal especially if it’s always given.
Even the national government is short on funds – what more just one agency?
Extension of the Luzon quarantine
A few days before DOLE’s CAMP application is suspended, the Luzon enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) has been extended up until the end of the month. As per our President, necessary actions will be taken because the antibodies for the virus is yet to be released for public use.
However, he further said that when it becomes available in May; he’ll be deciding to lift the quarantine so people can work again and for the economy to be better.
As regards the suspension of DOLE’s CAMP, what do you think about it? Do you think it’s fair that they were able to provide cash assistance to some employees and not to others? What complementary act would they provide workers?