There is truly dignity in labor.
Workers do not demand doles or handouts.
They prefer to earn their keep; they only want it to be fair and realistic to enable them to achieve decent standards of living.
But these are extraordinary times.
The pandemic and the economic crisis it triggered eliminated jobs and ruined livelihood’
Workers and their families suffered as a result as bread winners fell into hard times, unable to put food on the table, pay the rent and utilities, even the fare to go around to look for work.
In fairness to the Duterte administration. socioeconomic agencies mounted the biggest social protection program in the country’s history for displaced workers and other vulnerable sectors.
Such social lifeline is continuing, spearheaded by front-line agencies like the Department of Labor and Employment.
The easing of the country’s unemployment rate in October is a result of the government’s relentless efforts in assisting workers affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, the DoLE said.
“As the Department of Labor and Employment celebrates its 87th Founding Anniversary next week, the result of the October 2020 Labor Force Survey comes as a humble affirmation of our goal of productive and gainfully employed Filipino workers,” Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III said last week.
Bello said with the unemployment rate easing down at 8.7 percent or equivalent to 3.8 million unemployed, “we are one with the entire Duterte administration in its resolve for the gradual rebound of the economy”.
He was referring to the three major programs namely Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program, Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program, and Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong which aims to ease the effects of the crisis on workers.
“We are fast-tracking the implementation of our P13-billion safety net programs for the formal and informal sector workers, including the returning overseas Filipino workers, under Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2, to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the economy continues to reopen, we also recognize that business is still struggling to recover,” he added.
The DoLE chief also vowed to continue to facilitate employment services with initiatives, such as Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan, Balik-Trabaho Online Job Fair, and youth employability programs, namely the Special Program for Employment of Students and the Government Internship Program.
Meanwhile, around 93 percent of the over P16 billion fund for cash and employment assistance for Filipino workers here and abroad under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) had been released, according to the Department of Labor and Employment.
Labor Undersecretary Renato Ebarle said P14 billion out of the P16.4- billion budget allocation had been forwarded to the regional offices in the country and labor offices abroad for the beneficiaries of the financial and job programs of the government.
“We have downloaded 93 percent of the P16.4 billion, as of December 7. Our regional directors will act for the immediate release of the money to the beneficiaries. It will be released thru money remittance centers,” he said.
The three major programs of the DoLE are the CAMP, TUPAD, and AKAP.
Beneficiaries for CAMP are formal sector workers displaced by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. They would be receiving one-time cash assistance amounting to P5,000.
TUPAD qualified applicants would be provided an emergency employment assistance and paid based on the prevailing minimum wage in the region they would be employed.
Displaced, stranded, and onsite overseas Filipino workers are the beneficiaries of AKAP, one-time case assistance of $200 (P10,000).
Ebarle said the department is looking to finish the payout on the third week of December, as ordered by Secretary Bello.
“We were tasked to make sure that the release will be immediate and for us to pay all of the beneficiaries before December 18,” he added.
Indeed, unlike that other agency just palming off doles, the DoLE is giving workers more than that – dignity, respect, and self-esteem.
Our hats off to Secretary Bello, his deputies, and the hard-working ladies and gentlemen of the DoLE.