CLOSE to four million workers in the country and abroad have been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Thursday.
“Based on the last figure we released, there are around 3.8 million composed of retrenched and temporarily displaced workers,” Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay said during the agency’s virtual year-end press conference.
Tutay said these are from companies and establishments that have either adopted Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAS) or Alternative Work Scheme (AWS) or temporary closed.
Companies have adopted the schemes to help minimize the impact of the pandemic on their businesses as well as their workers.
On the other hand, the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) reported that over 500,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been displaced due to the health crisis.
According to ILAB director Alice Visperas, more than half of the 550,000 affected Filipinos abroad have been repatriated and are now in their home regions.
“As of December 17, we have over 550,000 OFWs displaced and out of this figure 370,000 were repatriated back to their home provinces,” Visperas said.
She added that some 126,000 are set to return to the country while more than 80,000 choose to stay in the host countries.
“Some 126,000 displaced Filipinos are for repatriation while 82,000 opted to stay on-site,” the ILAB official said.
The DOLE has earlier rolled out programs to cushion the impact of the pandemic on workers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday said 658,886 .000 formal sector workers have benefited from the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), which provides one-time cash assistance of P5,000.
Through the DOLE’s emergency employment program dubbed as Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD), Bello said the government was able to provide temporary jobs to 423,511 informal sector workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
On the other hand, he said 315,000 displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have benefited from Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong (AKAP) Program.
Under the program, OFWs who were repatriated, stranded, and are still on site are entitled to one-time case assistance of US$200 (P10,000).