• Melo Acuna

In Western Visayas, workers await promised benefits

Bishop calls for early release of COVID-19 DOLE assistance to affected workers

MANILA – San Carlos Bishop Gerardo A. Alminaza called on the Department of Labor and Employment to immediately release the COVID-19 assistance worth P5,000 for affected workers while the Enhanced Community Quarantine remains in place.

In a statement datelined San Carlos City, Bishop Alminaza said the Church People-Workers Solidarity calls on the government to release the promised assistance to affected workers from small, medium and large enterprises.

He said his group received reports from workers’ associations and from many individuals that they still have to receive the P5,000 financial assistance promised by the government immediately after the Enhanced Community Quarantine was implemented as many of the workers have been prevented from working.

Many of the workers have been quoted they cannot apply directly for the said program. It is their employer who will file the financial assistance for their workers. According to the statement, many employers do not have the initiative to apply for the program on behalf of their workers. Workers and their families are left without income to buy food and other basic necessities.

As of yesterday, Bishop Alminaza’s group said the delivery of relief goods for affected families remains scarce in the communities. The P5,000-8,000 Social Amelioration Program remains a dream for many families not only from the urban poor families but also from the middle-class families.

The statement revealed only 40-50% of the total intended beneficiary-families in many cities are covered by the said program which means that the remaining families will starve.

“The question now is where does the P275 billion COVID-19 response fund go? As of April 6, only P26.3 billion has been released from the fund according to IBON Foundation,” the statement further revealed.

They called on the government to immediately release the P5,000 DOLE Assistance to all affected workers as they call on companies to apply on behalf of their workers and allo workers to apply directly for the said assistance.

They also called for the immediately release without any deduction of the P5000-000 Social Amelioration Program for families from the urban poor and all families in need of assistance.

They also called on the government to regularly provide relied and food packs to affected families along with the effective and safe conduct of COVID-10 free mass testing to all PUIs, PUMs, and health care frontliners and surveillance testing to communities with confirmed COVID-19 cases. (Melo M. Acuña)

San Carlos Bishop Gerardo A. Alminaza, D.D. (File Photo/Michee Fabunan)

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