Press Release
March 16, 2020

Villanueva implores private sector to alleviate concern of 'no work, no pay' workers among its ranks

Senator Joel Villanueva has appealed to the private sector to help alleviate concerns of workers across all industries and sectors who are equally affected by community quarantines imposed in different areas to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In a statement, Villanueva said the government has been pulling all stops to cover the needs of its workers from regular, plantilla employees down to contractual workers whom the lawmaker described as the most vulnerable in the crisis because of the no work, no pay policy.

"Our government is doing everything in its power to cushion the impact of the quarantine to all its workers. We hope our private sector partners do the same, especially for their daily paid workers who are the most vulnerable in this crisis because of the no work, no pay policy," said Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resource Development. "We commit ourselves to provide any kind of assistance to our affected workers in the private sector."

"Our workers need all the help they can get to weather the crisis we are facing now. We call on the private sector to also devise ways for its workers to have financial assistance while the community quarantine is ongoing in different parts of the country," he continued.

On Monday, Villanueva wrote to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to call for accessing the Adjustment Measures Program (AMP) and implementing a modified Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program (TUPAD), two safety net programs for workers in the private sector.

A program that provides a package of assistance and other forms of intervention to assist distressed workers and companies in coping with economic and social disruptions, AMP was tapped by the labor department to help workers in Boracay affected by its rehabilitation in 2018. The same program was also used in 2016 for displaced education workers as the country transitioned to the K-12 curriculum.

TUPAD is an emergency employment program implemented in communities for displaced workers, seasonal workers, and even the underemployed. Beneficiaries work for a minimum 10 days but not exceeding 30 days, depending on the nature of the work to be performed. Villanueva calls on the DOLE to delay the requirement of rendering of service of TUPAD beneficiaries until after the community quarantine has been lifted.

Accessing these programs will help displaced workers last the impact of the community quarantine imposed in different areas expected to last until April 14, explained Villanueva.

"While some businesses implement a skeletal staff to be in place, earnings of daily-paid workers will still considerably shrink, and it may not be enough to cover their basic needs," the lawmaker said. "These programs of the labor department will help workers, especially those working in establishments ordered shut during the quarantine period and the workers in the informal economy."

In Metro Manila, local governments sought a temporary shutdown of malls and other public establishments, except those deemed essential such as supermarkets, groceries, and pharmacies, among others.

Earlier, Villanueva proposed for the continued pay of contractual workers in government so that they could still receive salaries while on telecommute or on skeletal staff. Both the Civil Service Commission and the Commission on Audit are meeting on Monday to finalize the resolution.

Villanueva also credited firms such as banks and a number of public utilities who have extended grace periods for payments on their loans and postpaid services like mobile phones and the Internet. He likewise made a similar call to government lenders such as the Social Security System, the Government Service Insurance System and the Pag-IBIG fund to extend the period of payment, as well as waive interest and penalties for late payments.

He also extended an appeal to mall operators and property owners to give discounts to lessees and waive rentals, if possible, "so business owners can continue to pay their workers especially and even when malls are closed."

"We appeal to their good sense of bayanihan. One good deed goes a long, long way in these trying times. We can overcome this crisis together, better and stronger, because we are Filipinos. We are a resilient people," Villanueva said.

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