Dealing with COVID-19

March 06, 2020

DOUBTLESS, the government is doing a great job in ensuring the health, safety and welfare of the people, including members of the working class, as the COVID-19 continued its global spread.

For its part, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has come up with a package of measures designed to mitigate any potential threat the disease might have on the nation’s labor mart.

Reports said the COVID-19 epidemic could threaten global growth and drive some countries into a recession.

Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III said the measures include urging industry leaders to adopt “flexitime” work arrangements in industries that could be affected by the coronavirus.

We share the view of DOLE Undersecretary Ana Dione that the flexible work arrangement is a better alternative than the outright termination of workers or the total closure of a firm.

“Instead of totally closing their businesses, we encourage them (employers) to adopt schemes such as reduced work days, rotation, and adjusted working hours,” said Dione.

Secretary Bello has also tasked DOLE offices, like the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), to be on alert-footing to allow a quick reporting system on worker displacements.

In fact, the labor department is preparing to reposition some of its financial programs, including its assistance projects, to sectors that might be affected by an outbreak of COVID-19.

These are the Adjustment Measures Program (AMP), Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program (TUPAD) and Government Internship Program (GIP).

Like other well-meaning Filipinos, we urge the authorities to do something more effective regarding the perceived impact of COVID-19, which originated from China’s Hubei province.