The UNI Global Union-Philippine Liaison Council (UNI-PLC) calls upon the Philippine government to put in place programs aimed at protecting workers and providing emergency relief for workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, it calls upon the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to enhance and fast-track the roll out of its COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).
Workers, particularly in retail, banks, tourism-related services, hotels and restaurants, gaming, transportation, BPO, ICT, and private security as well as agricultural, agro-industrial and manufacturing workers are already feeling the adverse effects of the coronavirus crisis. Travel bans in the Philippines and OFW-receiving countries are costing OFWs their livelihood. The Luzon lockdown (euphemistically called enhanced community quarantines) have added to the woes of formal and informal workers. Malls, department stores. restaurants and even carinderias and tiangges have been ordered closed. Public transport have been prohibited with the attendant loss of income for bus, jeepney, tricycle and pedicab drivers.
There is an urgent need for protective measures and immediate relief for workers (both formal and informal, regular and non-regular) adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. A review of the lockdown guidelines is also in order. One case in point: banks and hospitals will remain open but how will bank workers and health workers get to their workplaces if there is no public transport!
The UNI-PLC calls upon the DOLE to fast-track the roll-out of its COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), particularly the financial assistance to those workers who have temporarily or permanently lost their jobs or their livelihood.
The UNI-PLC echoes the call of the trade union movement for the DOLE to issue a Department Order that mandates workplace measures to protect the health and the income of workers and their families. This is of particular importance for health and care workers, bank workers, media worker (such as broadcast personnel covering the news, reporters, cameramen, drivers, etc.), retails workers, workers in food outlets, cleaners, BPO workers. security personnel and others. They should be provided with personal protective equipment and hazard pay when appropriate. Workers’ income during a quarantine or sick leave must be maintained.
In this time of crisis, workers, particularly service workers, all the more need the protection and the assistance that can be provided to them.
Jesus Exequiel Nidea
16 March 2020