The Department of Labor and Employment on Thursday said it will stop accepting applications for the P5,000 cash aid to formal workers under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measure Program.
Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay said applications from employers of formal sector workers for its cash aid program from the department was halted as the Department of Finance begins its own wage subsidy program.
“The target of the DOF are those belonging to the middle-income class,” Tutay said.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the wage subsidy from the DOF will be paid out in two tranches: From May 1 to 15 and from May 16 to 30.
On the other hand, Tutay said DOLE has so far given cash assistance to 236,405 formal sector workers under CAMP out of the 321,975 target beneficiaries.
“We still have about half a million approved CAMP applications but some of them are awaiting papers,” she said.
Tutay said the department has already requested an additional budget for CAMP and if approved will cover 500,000 more workers.
The government earlier unveiled a P51- billion wage subsidy program for workers in about 1.6 million small businesses hit by coronavirus lockdown.
As of Wednesday, the agency has already given out P5,000 cash aid to more than 236,000 workers.
Tutay also said the supplemental budget is still being requested to benefit 500,000 more workers in the formal sector.
Meanwhile, Senior Citizen Party-list Rep. Francisco G. Datol said indigent seniors who have been relying on relatives and friends to avoid hunger will soon get their much-delayed 2019 social pension as well as an advance of six months.
Datol, in a video message, said the funds will soon be available for distribution. He advised seniors, who will get P500 a month in social pension, to wait for the announcement of the actual disbursement.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development earlier said the seniors› database underwent verification upon orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, a process that delayed in the release of the monthly pension.
A total of 3,796,791 indigent seniors were supposed to receive their pensions in 2019. However, President Duterte ordered an updating of the DSWDs senior data base amid mounting reports that relatives of deceased seniors on the list do not report the death in order to continue collecting the pension.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, meanwhile, said the national government budget for 2021 may focus on developing small businesses to help them recover from the financial loses they suffered during the enhanced community quarantine or lockdown imposed to stem the spread of the Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19).
Members of the House of Representatives who have been tasked to coordinate with the Department of Budget and Management already see that helping micro-, small-, and medium-scale enterprises will be a priority in the 2021 national government budget, Cayetano said.
“We cannot plan the next year›s budget totally because various agencies are still being asked to submit their requirements and thus there will be changes. However, we can already predict that a major stimulus is needed and the MSMEs need help,” Cayetano said.
"So you will probably see a 2021 budget that is really pump-priming small businesses," he added.
Cayetano said legislators will meet with groups whose livelihoods were affected by the new coronavirus.
He said among the first sectors that the congressmen will meet will be those from the entertainment sector.
"This week, we›re trying to meet the leaders of the comedy club [group], because they have no income now. The musicians also have no income now," he said.
"But I can tell you, we are now busier in trying to convert funds allocated in the unused 2012 budget as well as the 2020 budget to find ways on how to convert certain items so there can immediately be used for social amelioration. That is still the focus," Cayetano said.
Also on Thursday:
- State pension fund Government Service Insurance System president and General Manager Rolando Ledesma Macasaet announced that its members and pensioners nationwide may now apply for the GSIS COVID-19 Emergency Loan program online. Under the GSIS Emergency Loan program, members and pensioners may take out a P20,000 loan, which is payable in three years at only six-percent interest per annum. The loan is covered by insurance, which deems the loan fully paid in case of the borrower’s demise,” Macasaet said.
- Senator Christopher “Bong” Go called on concerned national government agencies and local government units to work together to resolve issues on conflicting lists of beneficiaries and improve the distribution system for the government’s social amelioration program for those affected by the Luzon-wide lockdown. Go said the local government units must work hand-in-hand with Department of Social Welfare and Development through its local offices to resolve discrepancies.