Bong Go urges DOLE and DTI to collaborate efforts to assist workers losing their jobs; cites plans under BP2 program may be utilized
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged the Department of Labor and Employment to collaborate with the Department of Trade Industry and other concerned agencies in order to work on strategies and lay down necessary measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak on the livelihood and employment of affected Filipinos.
“Umaapela tayo sa DOLE at ang DTI at iba pang mga ahensya na magtulungan para gumawa ng mga paraan kung paano matutulungan ang milyun-milyong Pilipinong mawawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pandemyang ito,” Go said.
“Sa ngayon pa lang, marami nang business ang nagsara at dahil dito, marami na ring Pilipino ang nawalan ng trabaho,” the Senator added.
The possible unemployment figure will hurt the country’s economy even more if strategies and mechanisms will not be put into place as early as now, Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III admitted on May 20 during the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing. Bello also reported that 2.6 million workers have already lost their jobs at present due to the health crisis.
Go mentioned that under the Balik Probinsya, Balik Pag-asa (BP2) program, which is slated to be in full swing after the pandemic, DOLE and DTI have already identified programs that may be utilized to help mitigate the expected jobs loss and provide affected Filipinos alternative sources of livelihood.
“Marami pong mga kababayan natin na nagtatrabaho dito sa Kamaynilaan para lang may maipadalang pera sa kanilang pamilya sa probinsya ang nadala na at gusto nang umuwi dahil sa krisis na dulot ng COVID-19,” Go said.
“Ito po ang rason kung bakit ko ibinahagi ang inisyatibong Balik Probinsya para mabigyan ng bagong pag-asa ang ating mga kababayan. Wala pong pilitan ito. ‘Yung mga gusto pong bumalik na sa probinsya, tutulungan po kayo ng gobyerno na magsimula muli sa paraan na ligtas at makakabuti sa inyo at sa komunidad na inyong babalikan,” he added.
“Mayroon nang mga programa na nakalatag ang DOLE at DTI. Gamitin dapat ito para makatulong sa mga mawawalan ng trabaho,” Go stressed further.
DOLE will offer various programs in varying phases. In the immediate phase, the department will focus on those who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak. Programs include the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers Program and Government Internship Program (TUPAD-GIP), Special Program for Employment of Students during their school breaks, Work Appreciation Program for on-the-job training experience, Tulay 2000 Program for persons with disabilities, and JobStart for employment facilitation.
The DOLE ASSIST WELL (Welfare, Employment, Legal, Livelihood) Program for national reintegration program of overseas Filipino workers, wage subsidy, one-time assistance for qualified freelancer beneficiary, Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program, and Labor Enforcement and Action Program (LEAP)-Balik Probinsya are among those the labor department intends to also implement during the short-term period.
Meanwhile, in the mediate or medium-term, DOLE will help nursing graduates and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-trained nurse assistants to gain employment. In addition, DOLE proposes to also require contractors of the Department of Public Works and Highways to increase the number of workers from the localities where their projects are being constructed.
On the other hand, DTI said they are ready to provide different forms of financial assistance for micro, small and medium enterprises support and development, such as Livelihood Seeding Program-Negosyo sa Barangay that will include mentoring and training in addition to a seed capital; Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso Program – Enterprise Rehabilitation Program; Negosyo Centers under the Go Negosyo Act for business registration, technology centers, production and management trainings and marketing assistance from other agencies; Shared Service Facilities Program for machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills and knowledge for MSMEs; Diskwento Caravan or Rolling Stores, Philippine Trade Training Center Global MSME Academy; and Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa Program for victims of the pandemic.
“We need to do whatever it takes to find the solutions for our Filipino brothers and sisters, especially those who may soon lose their jobs due to the crisis. From job fairs, information on job opportunities, skills training and availability of alternative forms of livelihood — let us do what we can to help the country bounce back from this crisis,” Go said.
Go also recently urged the government to assist SMEs manufacturing COVID-19-related medical devices and equipment to help the country in sustaining its medical supply for frontliners that continue to help combat the health crisis. He particularly asked DTI to check its existing programs that can potentially support these SMEs which manufacture these medical supply and equipment, such as personal protective equipment and masks.