Process to get aid easier for Boracay workers
ILOILO CITY — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has ordered the easing of requirements for displaced workers of Boracay Island seeking to avail of cash assistance, amid a low application turnout.
Bello, who visited the island and distributed financial assistance on Sunday, said he would issue a department order that would minimize the requirements that workers needed to submit before they could avail of the aid.
He said that only an identification card and a certificate of employment should be required from applicants.
So far, only 3,500 workers had applied for cash assistance.
Businesses on the island employed about 19,000 workers before the national government closed the island to tourists for six months starting April 26.
Due to the absence of tourists, most business operators sent home their workers or retained a skeletal staff.
Under the Boracay Emergency Employment Program-Adjustment Measures Program (BEEP-AMP), workers who have been retained can avail of 25 percent of the regional minimum monthly wage amounting to P2,102.75 for three months.
Those whose employment was suspended can apply for cash assistance amounting to half of the regional minimum monthly wage amounting to P4,205.50 for six months.
As of June 29, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) had distributed P9,529,663 in assistance.
Many workers earlier complained of the stringent requirements, including the need to open an account at the Land Bank of the Philippines and the delay in the processing of the cash assistance.
Thousands of workers had already left the island for their hometowns or had sought employment by the time government agencies completed the profiling of target beneficiaries and the distribution of assistance.
Dole also said the displaced workers could apply for assistance in its field office nearest them.
On Tuesday, the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment and other groups called for the reopening of Boracay so that, they said, the livelihood of residents and workers could be restored.
They said the reopening of the island was necessary amid the lack of a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for the island and to allow an independent assessment of the rehabilitation efforts and socioeconomic impact of the closure.—NESTOR BURGOS JR.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.