DOLE: 250,000 workers to get aid amid COVID-19 quarantine

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 17) — A ₱1.3-billion financial assistance program will be given for workers affected by the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon amid the coronavirus disease or COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of Labor and Employment said.

Under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program, each worker will receive ₱5,000 in cash to be processed through the companies' payroll system.

The agency said 250,000 workers are expected to benefit from the program, which will prioritize those who work in small businesses and micro enterprises.

DOLE is also working on providing emergency employment for drivers affected by the Luzon quarantine since public transportation has been suspended.

As of Tuesday, DOLE said 97 companies have implemented flexible work arrangements, while 28 establishments have temporarily suspended operations.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed Luzon under "enhanced community quarantine" beginning Tuesday to contain the spread of COVID-19. It is effective for a month, but can either be cut short or extended, depending on the situation.

All people in the region can leave their homes only to access basic necessities; land, air and sea travel are restricted; and mass public transportation services are suspended. Most work is suspended, except work in the private sector but work should be done from their homes.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government warned that private companies and businesses that do not render essential services but are continuing operations during the quarantine will be forcibly closed.

The government has also appealed to business to help their employees financially.

The Philippines now has 142 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 12 deaths. Authorities are urging the public to maintain at least an arm's length distance from each other to prevent any more spread of the virus.

CNN Philippines' Tristan Nodalo contributed to this report.