DOLE: 2021 budget only good for one-time cash aid for displaced workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 9) — Employees who lost their jobs due to the pandemic can only expect a one-time cash aid from the government for 2021.

Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay said during the budget briefing on Wednesday with the House Committee on Appropriations that the agency needs to stretch its proposed budget that will cover other aid programs for overseas Filipino workers and workers in the informal sector.

The Department of Labor and Employment's Tulong Paghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced workers (TUPAD) program and the COVID-19 adjustment measures program have a total proposed funding of ₱11.1 billion for next year.

Only 2 million displaced workers can receive assistance under its current budget proposal., Tutay said.

The DOLE previously granted ₱5,000 cash aid to workers affected by the pandemic through TUPAD after businesses and offices closed down due to the imposition of community quarantine in Metro Manila and other areas of the country.

The agency said over 1 million workers nationwide have been displaced as of April.

Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said the DOLE budget will get a boost if the proposed ₱ 19.1 billion funding for the national task force to end local communist armed conflict will instead be allotted to help displaced workers.

The Department of Budget and Management granted the DOLE ₱27.5 billion budget under the ₱4.506 trillion National Expenditure Program for 2021.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.