DOLE: 25,000 to lose jobs if gov’t bans Pogos
The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) on Thursday said the government will assist some 25,000 workers who might find themselves jobless should Congress enact legislation banning Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos).
Speaking at the Laging Handa public briefing, Dole spokesperson Benjo Santos Benavidez, concurrent undersecretary for workers’ welfare and protection cluster, said the agency is ready to assist the Pogo workers find new jobs, get financial assistance to become entrepreneurs and obtain skills upgrade from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
He said that through the Dole’s employment facilitation program, the Public Employment Service Offices found in local government units can refer the Pogo workers to companies with compatible vacant positions. He said most Pogo workers are employed as customer service representatives.
The Dole also offers livelihood programs to unemployed persons, who will be given entrepreneurship training and avail themselves of seed capital amounting to P30,000 to set up small businesses.
Those who urgently need to earn wages may also apply for the Dole’s emergency employment program which lasts 10 days to a month.
Benavidez said that under the Labor Code, Pogos, should they be closed, are still obliged to provide separation pay to all their employees, whether Filipinos or foreign nationals, who will be laid off. The separation pay is equivalent to one month pay, or to at least one-half month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher.
He said the Pogo worker may also avail of unemployment benefits from the Social Security System equivalent to twice the half of the employee’s average monthly salary credit.
Several measures mandating the total closure of all Pogos in the Philippines are pending in both houses of Congress. Some groups are calling for stricter regulation of Pogos instead of banning them from the country, in consideration of the jobs and taxes they generate.