Applications for workers’ aid suspended as funding for program ‘close to being depleted’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) — The Labor Department announced Thursday that it has suspended the acceptance of applications for financial assistance for formal sector workers as funding for it “is very close to being depleted.”

Online application for the assistance program, called COVID Adjustment Measures Program, had been closed since Wednesday, 5 p.m., the Labor Department said.

“The Labor Department has been swamped with volumes of requests that the available fund for the program amounting to ₱1.6 billion is very close to being depleted,” it said. “We seek the full understanding of employers and workers who were unable to receive the assistance.”

The Labor Department said from March 23, it has been able to provide a one-time P5,000 assistance to 236,412 workers from 10,663 establishments, which it said is a total of ₱1.2 billion. It said it has yet to pay 85,563 more workers.

“DOLE is working closely with other agencies, including Congress, for an immediate alternative program to help ease the burden on the greater number of workers who did not benefit from CAMP,” it 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 had said 250,000 workers are expected to benefit from the program, which will prioritize those who work in small businesses and micro enterprises.

CNN Philippines’ Tristan Nodalo contributed to this report.