P3-B aid set for distribution to tourism workers

THE LABOR and Tourism departments have inked a memorandum for the distribution of over P3 billion to displaced workers from tourism establishments affected by the coronavirus crisis. Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2020-001, signed October 30, provides guidelines on “the grant of financial assistance to displaced employees” of Department of Tourism-accredited primary and secondary tourism enterprises, local government-licensed primary enterprises, and members of community-based tourism organizations. The memorandum also covers a separate P100 million fund for registered tour guides. Tourism is among the most badly-hit industries due to the mobility restrictions. Establishments in some areas began resuming operations recently, but business has yet to pick up from the effects of the crisis. The P3-billion fund is under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan II, the second law covering the government’s coronavirus response program. Formal sector workers in the tourism industry who are not covered by the memorandum can still apply for cash assistance under the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DoLE) COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), while informal workers can tap the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.

Meanwhile, business establishments that applied for DoLE’s cash aid programs at the start of the lockdown in mid-March but were not able to receive assistance will be prioritized in the next round under the Bayanihan II funds. DoLE published on Sunday separate guidelines for the CAMP and TUPAD programs. Last Friday, the Labor department said it will roll out its cash assistance programs this week. Under DoLE’s P13 billion Bayanihan II fund, P5 billion will be allocated to CAMP for 993,432 workers and P6 billion for TUPAD  covering 863,867 workers. — Gillian M. Cortez 

Duterte in the south as typhoon batters the north

PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte was in his hometown Davao City in the southern part of the country as typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) pummelled Luzon and surrounding islands in the north over the weekend. His spokesman, however, said the President is on top of the situation and was the one who ordered the inter-agency meeting in Manila on Sunday led by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. “He is not unreachable. He has been monitoring and he has been giving us instructions,” Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, speaking in mixed Filipino and English, said on Sunday during the televised meeting. Mr. Roque said the President was unable to charter a flight due to the storm, which reached super typhoon category before slowing down to typhoon level on Sunday morning. The President will return to Manila on Tuesday, according to Mr. Roque. Mr. Duterte’s last televised appearance was on Oct. 28 when he visited the grave of his parents in Davao. — Gillian M. Cortez 

Save the Children to assist in post-typhoon rapid assessment as it warns of 20M children at risk

HUMANITARIAN GROUP Save the Children Philippines will deploy a team to assist in the post-disaster rapid assessment in southern and central Luzon provinces that were affected by typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) and help identify immediate support needed by communities. In a statement on Sunday, the organization said about 20 million children were at risk from the calamity. “Children from poor households in the coastal towns and remote provinces will bear the brunt of the impact of typhoon Goni as their homes are made of light materials that are easily destroyed by strong winds,” Save the Children Chief Executive Officer Alberto T. Muyot said. Save the Children has also prepositioned emergency items such as household kits and tarpaulins to aid in the preemptive and forced evacuation of affected families. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza