THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has tallied about 200 permanent business closures during the public health emergency, which imposed lockdowns that did not allow them to operate or impaired the mobility of suppliers and potential customers.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the count is based on businesses that have notified DoLE of their closure. Speaking at a Laging Handa briefing Wednesday, he added that over 3,000 businesses closed temporarily.

“From January this year to up to this time, we have received notice from 3,012 businesses establishments going into temporary closure,” he said.

All the closures affected “over 100,000 employees,” Mr. Bello said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte first placed Luzon on enhanced community quarantine in mid-March, which halted economic activity except for sectors considered essential. First-quarter gross domestic product declined by 0.2%, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Mr. Bello said he will meet with legislators, including Senate Committee on Labor Chairman Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva, to discuss continuing the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DoLE) cash subsidy program, known as the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), for workers affected by the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) crisis.

CAMP stopped taking applications in April due to budget constraints. DoLE initially had a budget of P1.6 billion but was given an additional P2.5 billion. CAMP applicants who were not accommodated were referred to the government’s Small Business Wage Subsidy program. — Gillian M. Cortez