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Discontinuation of DOLE cash assistance sow confusion, demoralization & consternation among millions of displaced workers

April 17, 2020

QUEZON CITY – Millions of locked down rank-and-file workers felt betrayed by the discontinuation of cash dole out provided by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to incomeless employees displaced by the government imposition of Luzon-wide extended enhanced community quarantine lockdown shutdown of all work establishments and business operations beginning March 15th last month to minimize local transmission of novel 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the country's biggest workers group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

The DOLE on Thursday announced the suspension of five thousand peso financial assistance under the Covid Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) for formal sector workers effective April 15, 2020 following near depletion of the program's P1.6 billion budget.

A statement from the DOLE said the program has disbursed P1.2 billion which benefitted 236,412 employees of 10,663 work establishments since they begin the payout on March 23 or eight days after the total lockdown. The DOLE said there were 1.4 million work establishments and enterprises have rendered reported they were affected by the expanded ECQ.

"Because of this cash assistance stoppage, jobless ordinary workers and their families are confused and felt betrayed right now. Millions of locked down workers particularly those who have yet to receive the cash grant are feeling betrayed by the stoppage of their only lifeline cash assistance. Displaced workers felt they were pushed into lockdown, deprived of their jobs, kept in the dark corner and left out amid hunger, poverty and fear," said TUCP president and TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza.

The labor group said the Inter-Agency Task Force must immediately, widely and clearly explain the matter with the ordinary workers and avoid confusion.

"To cure the gaping widespread confusion and insecurity, we urged the government to clarify the matter immediately and clearly to the millions of displaced workers particularly those who have yet to receive the CAMP cash assistance," Mendoza said.

The TUCP said there at least 4 million rank-and-file workers were rendered jobless by the government imposed lockdown to minimize local transmission of COVID-19.