Cebu business leaders ask for more funds, equitable distribution to help workers

The leaders of the different business chambers in Cebu today asked government to add funds to its assistance program for workers and make its distribution equitable.

“Our productive sector deserves better treatment from the very government to whom they have regularly remitted their taxes,” said a joint statement signed by the business leaders.

The signatories of the statement released today are Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) President Felix Taguiam, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) President Steven Alain Yu, Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce President Francisco Benedicto, Mactan Export Processing Zone Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers (MEPZCEM) President Santhana Krishnan Vaidiswaran, and Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) Cebu Chapter President Chester Lim.

CASH ASSITANCE. An overseas worker shows the cash assistance she received from the Philippine government. (Photo from the Department of Labor and Employment Facebook page.)
CASH ASSITANCE. An overseas worker shows the cash assistance she received from the Philippine government. (Photo from the Department of Labor and Employment Facebook page.)

To help workers furloughed by the community quarantine imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) released funds under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

Qualified beneficiaries of the program were each given P5,000.

But the CAMP only benefitted “17%, a pittance,” the business leaders said.

The statement quoted a DOLE press release that stated Central Visayas as having a budget of P150 million for CAMP for 31,618 workers from 1,403 companies in the region.

“The program fund allocation should have been set based on actual data or statistics available at DOLE so that it will be fair to everyone,” the leader said.

They said the decision to stop the program “would create confusion and emotional stress” among workers who are banking on the subsidy.

“Closing the program arbitrarily will be perceived as selective and run counter to its original objective of helping the marginalized workers,” they said.

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