Since the start of 2020 unfortunate events rattled the country, from the eruption of Taal to the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) to intensify its commitment of formulating policies and programs that will ensure the protection and welfare of the marginalized workers.
The Bureau contributed immensely on the mitigating measures of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) during the pandemic.
“The pandemic has prompted the Department of Labor and Employment to issue labor advisories, policy orders, and memorandum circulars jointly with other agencies to protect the workers and help businesses cope with the crippling effect of the health crisis,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III.
A total of 423,511 workers benefitted from the modified Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD), #Barangay Ko Bahay Ko Disinfection and Sanitation Project (#BKBK), which provided qualified beneficiaries with wages equivalent to the prevailing minimum wage in their region, through a 10-day work of sanitation and disinfection of their own houses and immediate vicinities. This project was conceptualized taking into account the strict community quarantine imposed last 16 March 2020.
More so, a total of 408,223 beneficiaries benefitted from the regular TUPAD from first to third quarter of 2020.
On the other hand, the DOLE spearheaded the Free Bisikleta Panghanapbuhay Project also known as the FreeBis Project, under one of the flagship programs of the BWSC, the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program.
Under this program, workers are given free bicycles, cycling gears, insulated bags for delivery, and a ₱5,000.00 worth of prepaid load for their livelihood undertakings.
Not only that, they were also given a chance to enroll themselves as delivery partners of Grab PH and Lalafood through a memorandum of agreement signed by the Department with these companies.
Moreover, sugar and biofuel workers received financial assistance through the approval of the Sugar Tripartite Council and Biofuel Tripartite Consultative Council on the release of ₱49,267,000.00 and ₱23,000,000.00, respectively.
Working children were also prioritized through the release of Labor Advisories 23-20 and 24-20, which aimed to protect the welfare of the children engaged in the public entertainment.
The Bureau also provided assistance to a number of workers and establishments in setting up their Family Welfare Program (FWP).
During the community quarantine, the BWSC conducted a five-part virtual learning session for regional implementers relative to the new policies and issuances under the FWP.
“I hope that even after all these hardships, we still find the strength and dedication to give our minds and hearts to the vulnerable workers,” said BWSC Director Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla during the BWSC’s 11th Anniversary.
Underscoring all these efforts, the Bureau will remain steadfast in its mission to champion the rights of the marginalized workers.