SME workers still waiting for financial aid promised by DOLE
A group of business leaders that employs nearly 80,000 workers has asked President Duterte to stop the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) from making promises it could not keep, after the latter dangled an employee subsidy, which it did not give.
In an open letter to the President, the Entrepreneurs Organization Philippines said its workers were demanding from them the P5,000 in aid that the Dole promised last month.
The Dole had issued a department order providing for a one-time P5,000 financial assistance to workers who were affected by company closures during the lockdown.
Companies that are temporarily closed or are in a flexible work arrangement can avail themselves of this assistance by submitting certain documents to the Dole, according to Department Order No. 209, which was dated March 17.
However, even though the required documents have already been submitted, the subsidy has yet to be given, according to the group.
This puts the employers in a bad light, making it appear that it is them who do not give the workers the promised subsidy.
“The P5,000 support from Dole is being demanded from us by our people. We cannot afford to advance that with zero revenue,” it said.
“It puts us in a worse position. We are not the enemy here and yet we start looking that way,” it added.
As of April 5, Dole has approved the application for assistance of 102,885 formal workers and has disbursed about P541 million for the program, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said at a press briefing.
The applications of 72,703 informal workers were likewise approved, and the Dole has disbursed about P170 million, he added.
This is not the only gripe of the group, which has over 180 members who are decision-makers in their respective companies. They also think that more businesses should operate again, so that they could help support their workers.
“Allow companies to send a [skeleton force] to work so we can pay suppliers so they, in turn, can pay their employees. We need the money to flow and be shared,” it said. INQ
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