'REPOSITIONING' AID PROGRAMS. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III (center) says the agency is planning to reposition some of its financial programs to sectors that might be affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) scare, during a press briefing on Wednesday (March 4, 2020). Bello said this includes a plan to link workers to the training-for-work program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. (PNA photo by Ferdinand Patinio)

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is preparing to reposition some of its financial programs to sectors that might be affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) scare.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he will ask the Office of the President to release through their Adjustment Management Project (AMP) some PHP2 billion to help those that might be affected by the virus.

“Well, we are talking about PHP2 billion. Initially. But that will not be granted on a one-time basis but as the need arises. We are revisiting as well our priorities in the grant and release of financial assistance through our AMP, Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program (TUPAD), and Government Internship Program (GIP) programs to affected sector especially in industries vulnerable to Covid-19,” Bello said in a press briefing Wednesday.

Bello said that a policy to link workers to the training-for-work program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority shall be adopted.

“We shall be conducting meetings with stakeholders and social partners as often as possible to boost cooperation while centralized monitoring system will be established to provide updates on workers affected by the outbreak,” he added.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Ana Dione urged companies to adopt flexible work arrangements, as a better alternative than the outright termination of the services of the employees or the total closure of the establishment.

“The labor department calls on employers to adopt flexible work arrangements as an alternative measure to save jobs. Instead of totally closing their businesses, we encourage them to adopt schemes such as reduced workdays, rotation, and adjusted working hours,” she said in a statement.

Earlier, OIC-Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay reported that 35 tourism-related establishments in three regions involving 3,255 workers have already resorted to flexible work arrangements.

These are located in Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Soccsksargen regions. (PNA)