MORE than two million workers in the country and at least 100,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been displaced by the lockdowns imposed due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
In a statement issued Sunday, April 26, the Labor department said the number of displaced local workers reached 2.073 million as of April 24 based on reports from the regional offices.
Almost 1.4 million workers were displaced due to temporary closures while more than 687,000 had reduced incomes under alternative work arrangements like less workdays, rotation, forced leave and telecommuting.
Nearly 100,000 OFWs were also reported to have been displaced but a bigger number, over 230,000, of migrant workers have applied for the government’s one-time cash assistance of P10,000.
The number of applications from OFWs exceeded the target of 150,000 beneficiaries for the P1.5 billion (Akap) aid fund, the DOLE statement said.
The government is now preparing a supplemental budget to provide more OFWs with the emergency assistance.
Based on reports by the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in 40 posts across the globe, a total of 89,436 OFWs were either displaced or on a no-work, no-pay status due to lockdowns and slowdown of businesses in host countries.
As of April 24, the POLOs and the local offices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) have received 233,015 requests for assistance under the Akap emergency fund.
The Labor department said 49,040 OFWs are already set to receive the cash aid after having met the requirements.
They were processed within 10 working days since the release of the Akap funds on April 9.
Meanwhile, DOLE said it had disbursed P1.7 billion of its regular funds to finance the one-time assistance of P5,000 under the Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (Camp) to 345,865 formal sector workers.
Another 259,449 informal sector workers benefited from the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko (Tupda #BKBK) program amounting to P1.14 billion, also from DOLE’s 2020 budget.
On April 15, DOLE stopped accepting requests for assistance under Camp after it was swamped with applications that quickly depleted its regular assistance fund.
About 90 percent of establishments which reported work displacements are seeking the CAMP assistance for their workers.
The National Capital Region recorded the highest number of displaced workers at 687,634, followed by Central Luzon at 281,278 and Davao Region with 207,789.
Calabarzon reported 158,646 workers; Northern Mindanao, 106,162; Cagayan Valley, 88,531; Central Visayas, 86,767; Mimaropa, 74,533; Western Visayas, 65,892; Bicol, 65,757; and Cordillera, 63,957 workers.
The areas with the least affected workers are Soccsksargen with 27,643; Ilocos with 32,017; Zamboanga Peninsula with 37,683; Caraga with 39,711; and Eastern Visayas, 49,362. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)