DOLE says ECQ to affect 127K workers in NCR

By Ferdinand Patinio

August 2, 2021, 7:30 pm

<p>File photo</p>

File photo

MANILA – Some 127,000 workers will be affected by the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) classification that will be imposed in Metro Manila from Aug. 6 to 20, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Monday.

“One hundred twenty thousand was the figure in the NCR for workers undergoing flexible work arrangements and reduction of work days,” DOLE Assistant Secretary Dominque Tutay said in a media forum.

Last week, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the recommendation to place the National Capital Region (NCR) under ECQ to prevent the surge of Covid-19 cases due to more infectious Delta variant.

Tutay said over 300,000 workers will also be affected, including in other areas that were also placed under ECQ.

Apart from Metro Manila, Iloilo province and its city, Cagayan de Oro City, and the City of Gingoog in Misamis Oriental have also been placed under ECQ from July 21 to Aug. 7.

On Sunday, Malacañang announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) reclassified the quarantine classifications of Laguna, Aklan, and Apayao from general community quarantine (GCQ) to modified ECQ until Aug. 15.

Tutay, meanwhile, said the 300,000 does not include some 152,000 workers who have been displaced from January to July as reported by establishments in Metro Manila.

“On top of that, the 152,987 who have been displaced since January 1 to July 30,” she said.

He added that the figure is likely to increase by some 30,000 to 40,000 due to the impact of the pandemic to the economy.

“It can be increased by about 30,000 to 40,000 because we saw that on a monthly period the actual displacement is supposedly low from 46,000 to 36,000 to 27,000 but if you have another lockdown it can go up again from 30,000 to 40,000 which is the average prior to this month. If you combine that it could actually lead to 400,000 to 500,000 as earlier announced by Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez and National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Karl Chua,” she said.

Tutay said a small working group on social amelioration program had a meeting and studying on how to provide financial assistance to the workers to be affected by the two-week ECQ.

“This will be patterned with the previous aid in March in NCR plus. They are looking at 1,000 per person to a maximum of 4,000 per household within the NCR,” she added.

Looking for funds

Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said Secretary Silvestre Bello III has ordered to find a source of funds for possible financial assistance to affected workers.

“That is the order of our Secretary. If we remember the previous ECQ and modified enhanced community quarantine, we implemented financial assistance. We talked about finding funding so that affected workers can expect or get help from our department,” he said during the Laging Handa briefing.

Benavidez said the department is still studying whether to source the funds from their current budget or will ask help from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“But we are still studying on where to draw the funds through our present General Appropriation Act (GAA) or do we need to request from the DBM,” he said.

Earlier, the department has provided cash aid to formal and informal workers through social amelioration programs such as Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) and Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD).

Under CAMP, formal sector workers were given a one-time cash assistance of PHP5,000.

For informal sector employees, they were provided emergency employment under TUPAD. Their compensation is based on the prevailing minimum wage in the region where they were employed. (PNA)