DOLE denies underreporting of displace workers

Silvestre Bello III

THE Department of Labor and Employment today asserted that it had been forthright and transparent in reporting the number of workers displaced by the enhanced community quarantine.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello said they take strong exception to the claim made by some groups that the DOLE is underreporting or downplaying the actual number of affected workers.

“We wish to take strong exception to the claim by some groups…We have been forthright and transparent. Our numbers are based on reports submitted to our field and regional offices by establishments, indicating the extent by which the national health emergency affects each one of them,” he stressed.

Bello further pointed out that they have called on enterprises and companies to submit to the DOLE offices the names of their workers and employees, regardless of employment status, so that they could provide them with assistance under the amelioration scheme Covid Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

“We are thankful to those who responded positively to our request that the P5,000 one-time assistance under CAMP has already benefitted about 220,000 workers with close to P1.1 billion in assistance funds. We have not, in fact, discontinued accepting establishment reports so that we may have a better picture of the impact of the health emergency on the workplaces. And the numbers keep getting bigger by the day,” he said.

The labor chief said that as of April 13, the DOLE has recorded the displacement of 1,428,841 workers as reported by 52,993 establishments.

“More than one million of those were due to temporary closures while the balance was affected by various flexible work arrangements. And this is not counting the number of informal sector workers in their hundreds of thousands who are also needing financial assistance,” Bello explained.

“It is our desire to reach the most number of workers with the assistance we can provide. There is no reason for us in government, much less in the labor department, to play with numbers — underreport or otherwise downplay them,” he added.