Due to the enhanced community quarantine, many informal and irregular workers became weary that they would not be able to have food for their families. Irregular and informal workers such as sidewalk vendors, tricycle and jeepney drivers, and other workers are growing worried every day whenever they hear that the quarantine will go on for a few months.
However, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that they should not fret – DOLE will help all workers who have been severely affected by the COVID-19 oubtreak. Silvestre Bello III, the Labor Department Secretary explained that these informal workers will have a chance to avail or to get the benefit for them – the Emergency Employment Program.
What is the Emergency Employment Program (EEP)?
DOLE have the backs of regular workers in the private sector. They made a promise that they’ll be covering the leaves of people who have no leave credits anymore. So what about irregular and informal workers?
You can read more about that here: The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Will Answer All Employee Payments Without Leave Credits
As per Bello, the EEP is made solely for the benefit of these informal workers. He said that the Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program is something they can lean on to.
He said that DOLE will help informal workers by giving them jobs so that they can earn for their families until the time that the quarantine will be lifted.
Kapag ikaw ay isang informal worker, nagbebenta ka ng mangga, o nagbebenta ng gulay, o kaya ay nagta-traysikel ka, at mawalan ka ng trabaho dahil dito sa enhanced community quarantine [ECQ], bibigyan ka namin ng trabaho. This is good for maybe 10 to 20 days.”
In Translation: If you are an informal workers; if you are selling mangoes or vegetables; or if you are a tricycle driver and you will have no source of income because of the enhanced community quarantine, we will give you a job. This is good for maybe 10 to 20 days.
What type of jobs will they be giving informal workers?
DOLE will help informal workers, however, it might be something they are not expecting. In his statement, Bello said that they’ll give jobs to displaced or informal workers and the job would be to help in the disinfection of the community.
Pero ang trabaho na ibibigay namin sa ‘yo ay to disinfect, unang-una yung bahay mo, pangalawa yung kapitbahay mo. At saka iyong mga daan na madadaanan mo kapag ikaw ay umuuwi at pumupunta sa trabaho mo. Ito ang trabaho na ibibigay namin sa mga informal workers.
In Translation: But the jobs that we will give you is to disinfect. You would have to disinfect your house, then the house of your neighbor. Also, you would also have to disinfect the roads and the paths leading to your house or to your place of work; this is what we will be giving informal workers.
In addition to that, Bello also said that the same job is offered to formal or regular workers. People who have no jobs can take advantage of it. The catch is that they’ll be paid the minimum wage.
Informal and formal workers
Bello iterated that they will be treating formal and informal workers the same; they will both be given jobs and they’ll be paid minimum wage. Should an employee be required to undergo the enhanced community quarantine, DOLE will be answering the leaves of employees for them to be paid.
He explained that both formal and informal workers would be given the same jobs.
Oo, lahat kasama, lahat ng mga workers—merong formal, merong informal. Yung formal, parehas ang trato namin sa kanila, bibigyan namin sila ng trabaho, kagaya ng mga informal.”
In Translation: Yes, everyone is included; all workers – there are workers from formal and informal sectors. Formal workers will be treated the same level as informal workers; we will also give them the same job.
How can informal workers get the emergency employment program?
Now for the most awaited part; we all now know that DOLE will help informal workers – but how would they be able to apply for it? Labor Secretary Bello III said that this is something they’ll be able to treat as an “easy problem.” He even said that resolving this is faster than how anyone would expect it to be.
Even if these informal workers rely on their daily grind, Bello said that they have a solution for that.
Mabilis lang ‘yan, mabilis lang ‘yan. All they have to do is go to the barangay officials, and the barangay officials will submit their names to us. We will include them in the list of beneficiaries, and then we let them work.”
In Translation: Solving that is fast. All they have to do is go to the barangay officials. Then, those barangay officials will submit their names to us. What we’ll then do is we will include them in the list of beneficiaries; we will let them work.
So applying for the EEP is fast; in fact, Bello said that barangay officials even find it easy because they do it every year – in fact, every three (3) months. He continued to explain that the job that will be given to them would be for ten (10), twenty (20), or even thirty (30) days; this would be dependent on the need of the community.
All these informal and irregular workers have to do is to proceed to their barangay officials and submit their names. It is literally that easy.
The Boracay closure
To add to his explanation Bello III even brought up the Boracay closure. He reminisced when Boracay was closed to rehabilitate; where thousands of workers were left jobless – they were able to resolve that.
Remember mo yung the closure of Boracay? When Boracay was closed for six months, all the restaurant workers and the hotel workers were displaced. Wala silang trabaho dahil nawala ang operation, e. [They do not have jobs because operations were stopped]. So, what did we do? We gave them work for six months, all of them.”
DOLE will help informal workers and it’s going to be beneficial and it’s going to be fruitful. To disinfect several communities in the island of Luzon is something that is truly desired by many. With the outbreak that is happening now – what do you think about the Philippine government’s action of providing assistance to displaced and informal workers?
Can this help these displaced and underprivileged workers find suitable and appropriate sources of income or means of living? Would this be able to sustain their families even if a pandemic is currently showing no signs of stopping? Everyone does hope for the end of this tragedy. Not just our lives are in danger – also our means of living.