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Bello appeals to other big businesses to take care of their workers amid COVID-19 crisis

By: By Irene R. Sino Cruz - CDN Digital Correspondent | March 19,2020 - 06:11 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines —Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III called on big businesses to join others who have taken care of their employees amid the national emergency brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are grateful to the big businesses who heeded the appeal of the President to take care of their workers and employees during this time of national emergency. Their compassion and good example inspire other enterprises whose source of wealth is the labor of their workforce. President Duterte has been apprised accordingly of their exemplary deeds,” Bello said in a statement posted on the Department of Labor Facebook page.

In his statement, Bello thanked the group of companies of Aboitiz, Ayala, ICTSI/Solaire Group, JG Summit, Jollibee, Lucio Tan, Metro Pacific, San Miguel Corporation, SM and Udenna Group for committing to give their employees and workers their full pay for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine.

“In most cases, the employees of these companies will not use up their available leave credits, will be advanced their 13th and/or 14th-month pay and given other financial relief,” Bello said.

He then called on the other big companies ‘to take the extra mile in assisting their workers during this crisis situation.’

“I again appeal to our employers not to resort to retrenchment amid the work stoppages, suspension of public transportation and restricted movement of people in the communities,” Bello said in his statement.

“I implore business owners to earnestly find other measures to preserve employment of workers so as not to compound their already dire condition.”

He also urged companies to find ways to address the needs of the workers who have to report for work due to the nature of the business, such as manufacturing.

“While work from home (WFH) is the safest mode of keeping workers employed, it would not be applicable to other workers, particularly those in the manufacturing industry,” Bello pointed out.

However, the WFH is not applicable to other workers particularly those in the manufacturing industry. This is where initiatives from employers become important and necessary.

He suggested companies to consider providing temporary housing for workers who could no longer go home, especially in areas like Metro Manila where there is no available public transportation or be at risk of being stopped at checkpoints.

He also encouraged employers to release the 13/14th month pay of employees while work is suspended so they could have the means to buy basic necessities.

“The advance payment is a practical response to help our wage earners survive the month-long quarantine. We’ll find other ways if the quarantine is extended. Let us continue to work together to beat COVID 19 because by doing so will preserve the nation’s most valuable human resource,” Bello said. /RCG

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