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Help for Filipino Affected by Covid-19

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Help for Filipino Affected by Covid-19
« on: August 13, 2020, 08:45:46 PM »

Two lawmakers have solutions to COVID-19 rollout difficulties

Agusan del Norte (1st District) Rep. Lawrence Fortun wants the DSWD Social Amelioration Program expanded to include security guards, college and DepEd scholars, kasambahays, cooperatives members, and DTI microlending beneficiaries.

ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Jocelyn P. Tulfo suggests a formal Labor Department amnesty for all employers who avail of its COVID-19 one-time aid relief of P5,000 for their employees. 

Fortun said the DSWD should use already existing databases for specific individual beneficiaries among the poor and lower middle income segments of the country's population. The lists he cited are the following:

1.  SSS-registered kasambahays;

2.  PNP SOSIA registry of licensed security guards;

3.  CHED, SUC and LUC enrollment lists of indigent and low-income students in public and private colleges;

4.  DepEd list of Education Service Contracting (ESC) voucher beneficiaries

5.  Cooperative Development Authority lists of low-income individual members of cooperatives; and

6.  DTI Small Business Corporation lists of microlending beneficiaries.

"I believe these databases are objective sources of names of citizens who are among the lower middle income households. These databases exist and have been vetted beforehand or have some means of sorting out target beneficiaries for other assistance programs," Fortun said.

The Agusan del Norte congressman noted, "the databases for the current  COVID-19 safety nets are not interfaced and therefore the DSWD, DOLE, DA, DOTr, and l agencies are having a difficult time knowing which families are getting cash aid over and over again."

"In the process, while some people receive from more, others may be deprived. The forms for the Social Amelioration Card were not distributed and used as planned," he also said.

Congressman Fortun agreed with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III that "many employers have been unable, or are hesitant, to submit their payroll records because they feared the documents they submit could be used against them because those records would be proof they have not been complying with certain labor laws and standards.

Congresswoman Tulfo opined that the COVID-19 crisis "has exposed what many labor rights advocates have known for decades: most employers do not comply with the most basic labor standards on compensation and benefits."

"To effectively remedy this horrendous can of worms situation, I suggest to the DOLE, the Employees Compensation Commission, National Labor Relations Commission, and the National Wages and Productivity Commission that they formalize in writing some sort of clemency or amnesty, if it is within their executive authority to do so under their respective charters and our country's labor laws," Tulfo said.

"However, such amnesty or clemency should have strict provisions on rectification and compliance. For now, let us call this approach, Tabula Rasa, which means clean slate," Tulfo suggested.

She said DOLE should have "one minimum standard of electronic payroll for compliance of every single business entity of whatever type, be it a proprietorship, partnership, or corporation."

"This electronic payroll should be for all kinds of private sector employees: regular, probationary, contractual, contractors, subcontracted, and casuals. Moving forward, the electronic payroll should be a compliance monitoring tool of the DOLE and its bureaus enforcing various standards," Tulfo also said.

"The required DOLE electronic payroll should also be a requirement for business registration and renewal consistent with the Ease of Doing Business Act," Tulfo proposed. (END)

REP. LAWRENCE “LAW” H. FORTUN – Agusan Del Norte 1st District

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