5,206 Cordillera businesses impacted by pandemic

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BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-CAR) disclosed that some 5,206 businesses in the different parts of the region had been heavily impacted by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic since the implementation of the various levels of community quarantine to combat the spread of the virus.

DOLE-CAR regional director Exequiel Ronnie Guzman stated that there were some 80,424 workers from the aforesaid number of establishments who were affected by the closure of the businesses or the implementation of different work schedules just to ensure the continuous operation of the businesses even in a significantly reduced capacity.

He pointed out that there are numerous industries that implemented the significant reduction in their respective work days arrangements, rotation of workers, forced leaves, telecommuting or work from home, and temporary closures that have affected the gainful employment of the workers since the start of the Luzonwide lockdown.

Earlier, the DOLE-CAR was able to provide assistance to some 25,000 workers in the different parts of the region under the agency’s COVID-19 Assistance Measures program (CAMP) I at the height of the community quarantine.

However, he admitted that with the respective CAMPs of the tourism department and the academe, more displaced workers have been provided with the available assistance that was contained in the Bayanihan I law that expired last June.

According to him, the release of the emergency financial assistance to the heavily impacted workers is timely because of the upcoming Yuletide celebrations where they will have something to use for the simple merrymaking of their families to celebrate the Christmas and New Year and to strengthen the bond with their relatives amidst the encountered difficulties in looking for available jobs and sources of livelihood for them to be able to sustain the living condition of their families.

Director Guzman expressed optimism that with the efforts of concerned government agencies and local governments to ease up on the operation of businesses, the economy might be able to gradually and slowly recover during the Yuletide season so that the businesses will be able to end the year right and start the new year with the hope that the prevailing community quarantine will be further relaxed as there is still a need to strike a balance between the health and safety of the people and the heavily impacted economy.

He encouraged workers who were not yet provided with the emergency financial assistance from the government to file their applications the soonest for them to be included in the beneficiaries of the CAMP 2as funds for the said purpose had already been made available by the budget department where the same will be released directly to the recipients once they are assessed to be qualified to be granted such help.

The labor official asserted that the grant of the financial assistance will be on a first come, first serve basis until the funds that had been provided shall have been exhausted as there are numerous workers who have not yet applied to claim their benefits from the agency since the start of the community quarantine period.