THE Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) signed on Friday a joint memorandum circular that would provide assistance to displaced tourism workers as a result of the pandemic.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III inked the DOT-DOLE Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-001, which contains specific guidelines for the provision of cash assistance and cash-for-work program for tourism workers that were displaced due to the ongoing pandemic.
“Our tourism workers make up the life support system of the tourism industry. We are sincerely grateful to Secretary Bello and the DOLE for prioritizing our displaced tourism workers. We likewise thank our legislators for the enactment of the BAYANIHAN 2 law that will enable us to help our stakeholders regain economic strength giving renewed vigor to our industry and to our country. This financial assistance scheme and Cash-for-Work Program will prove once more that our government stands firm with the people,” Puyat said.
Employees of DOT-accredited tourism enterprises and local government unit (LGU)-licensed primary tourism enterprises that have retrenched its workforce or undergone temporary or permanent closure will be eligible to apply for the cash-for-work program, or avail of a one-time financial assistance equivalent to Php 5,000.
The amount will be sourced from the Php 3 billion allocation for tourism workers under Section 4 of Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover As One (BAYANIHAN 2).
Members of duly registered Community-Based Tourism Organizations (CBTOs) that were affected by the pandemic are likewise qualified to avail of the cash assistance and apply for the cash-for-work program.
According to the tourism chief, displaced employees of 7,951 DOT-accredited primary tourism enterprises and an estimated 8,433 LGU-licensed primary tourism enterprises are set to benefit from the program. “With the joint effort and cooperation of the DOT and DOLE, we will work our best to carry our tourism industry workforce across these tides,” she added.
Meanwhile, the JMC also provides guidelines on how to avail of the cash assistance for distressed DOT-accredited or LGU-licensed Tour Guides, out of the Php 100 million allocation under BAYANIHAN 2.
A tour guide may be entitled to avail of the one-time financial assistance or cash-for-work program, provided he/she is a member of a tour guide organization or association that has been registered with a relevant LGU or National Government Agency on or before 31 December 2019; must have a valid DOT accreditation or an LGU license, issued not later than 31 August 2020; and must undergo the relevant training for tour guides to be conducted by the DOT after applying for financial assistance.
Tour guides and other displaced tourism workers who will not meet the eligibility requirements provided in the JMC, specifically those who are not members of any registered association or organization, informal sector tourism workers, will still have the chance to avail of the Cash-for-Work Program under DOLE’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) and COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) programs, as may be applicable, subject to its guidelines.