Dole stops accepting applications for workers’ aid
The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) on Thursday said it had stopped accepting applications for the P5,000 cash aid to workers who lost their jobs due to lockdowns imposed by the national and local governments to halt the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.
“[The Dole] announces with regret the suspension of acceptance of applications for financial assistance,” the labor department said in a statement, adding that the online application for the aid under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measure Program (CAMP) was closed at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“The labor department has been swamped with volumes of requests that the available fund for the program amounting to P1.6 billion is very close to being depleted,” it said.
The Dole had given one-off assistance of P5,000 to 236,412 workers from 10,663 businesses since the program was implemented on March 23, disbursing P1.2 billion.
“We have yet to pay 85,563 more workers in the coming days,” the agency said.
“We seek the full understanding of employers and workers who were unable to receive the assistance. The requests simply ballooned beyond the capacity of the Dole’s resources,” it said.
The situation was aggravated by the extension of the Luzon lockdown to April 30, it added. The Dole said it was working closely with other agencies and Congress for an immediate alternative to CAMP to help workers who had yet to receive aid.
“Our regional operations had enormous challenges in attending to the 1.6 million CAMP applications nationwide, but we are happy to extend assistance to those who had received the cash aid,” it said.
In a television interview on Thursday, Assistant Labor Secretary Dominique Tutay said additional funds the Dole had requested would benefit 500,000 more workers. —TINA G. SANTOS
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