A collaboration between the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as well as other government agencies has been insisted upon by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go as an effort to extenuate the adverse effects and to save workers affected from the sudden outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that has sincerely hurt and affected the livelihood and employment of Filipinos.
The health crisis urged many business establishments to halt their operations which resulted to the loss of jobs for many Filipinos. The spike in the unemployment figure will affect the country’s economy; even more especially if strategies and necessary measures will not be put into place to mitigate this as early as possible.
Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa (BP2)
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello noted during the May 20 public hearing of the Senate acting as Committee of the Whole that 2.6 million workers have already suffered the loss of their jobs due to the present pandemic. And under the government’s Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) program, many of the workers are hopeful to go back to their respective provinces.
The program is planned to fully be functional after the crisis; and DOLE and DTI were able to determine projects that may be utilized to alleviate the expected job losses and to save workers by providing Filipinos alternative sources of income, alternative jobs, and the like with the help of the program.
DOLE will attend to the workers who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak in the immediate phase. However, various programs in different phases will be offered as well by the department to save workers.
Programs that would be done include the
- Tulong Pang-hanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers Program and Government Internship Program (TUPAD-GIP);
- Special Program for Employment of Students during their school breaks’
- Work Appreciation Program for on the job training (OJT) experience;
- Tulay 2000 Program for persons with disabilities; and
- JobStart for employment facilitation
The Assist Well Program
In addition, the short-term, ASSIST WELL (Welfare, Employment, Legal, Livelihood) program for the reintegration of overseas Filipino workers, wage subsidy, one-time assistance for qualified freelancer beneficiary, Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment program and Labor Enforcement and Action program (LEAP)-Balik Probinsya are some of the programs the department plans to implement.
This initiative is to help in the recovery of the Filipino workers; it’s going to be used as a medium to bounce back from losses and from financial struggles.
In the mediate or medium-term, nursing graduates and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or TESDA-trained nurse assistants will be assisted by DOLE for their employment.
The department also proposes the requirement for contractors of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to save workers by reinforcing more to be hired in places where projects are currently being planned and implemented.
The Trade Department reported that their readiness to accommodate different forms of financial assistance for micro, small and medium enterprises’ support and development is in the works. In fact, these include:
- The Livelihood Seeding Program. Negosyo sa Barangay that will include mentoring and training in addition to a seed capital;
- Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso Program. Enterprise Rehabilitation Program;
- Negosyo Centers under the Go Negosyo Act for business registration, technology centers, production and management trainings and marketing assistance from other agencies;
- Shared Service Facilities Program for machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills and knowledge for MSMEs;
- Diskwento Caravan or Rolling Stores
- Philippine Trade Training Center Global MSME Academy; and
- Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa Program for victims of the pandemic.
Support for SMEs
Senator Go previously urged the government for its support and help towards SMEs that manufacture COVID-19-related medical devices and equipment; companies and manufacturers that help the country in maintaining its sustenance of medical supplies for our front liners.
They never fail to help combat the health crisis. Go posed a question to the DTI to review its existing programs that may support SMEs in manufacturing medical supplies and equipment that include personal protective equipment and masks.
They are, anyway, the companies contributing greatly to the betterment and the improvement of the situation.
What do you think about the programs that have been established and created by DOLE and DTI to save workers in the middle of this infamous pandemic? Can all of these programs be the change and the help our country and our workers need?
Source/s: The Philippine Star