Cebu labor group questions 2021 budget priorities, calls for approval of unemployment assistance bill
CEBU CITY, Philippines— A progressive labor group in Cebu reiterated the call for the passage of the Makabayan-bloc sponsored bill seeking to provide assistance for workers whose livelihood was affected by the pandemic.
The call came amidst the ongoing deliberation for the 2021 budget.
In a statement on Monday, September 28, 2020, Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo-KMU) said the priorities in the proposed 2021 budget is “obviously misplaced,” considering a recent study of the Social Weather Station (SWS) pointing out the number of retrenched workers because of the pandemic.
In Cebu, the Labor department earlier confirmed that over 4,000 workers in the Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) were displaced.
The group call for the lawmakers to pass House Bill no. 7590 or the Unemployment Benefits Act, which seeks to provide at least P10,000 monthly assistance to displaced workers from both formal and informal sectors.
AMA Sugbo-KMU also questioned the proposed 2021 budget, claiming that the biggest chunks of the appropriation are instead given to infrastructure and military programs.
Government agencies in Central Visayas earlier said the infrastructure projects are a ticket towards the economic recovery of the region.
“More families and more Filipinos will go hungry with the incredible inaction being shown by the Duterte government. There are still reports of workers being terminated from work. We can only expect a rise in the level of hunger,” AMA Sugbo-KMU Chairperson Jaime Paglinawan said.
The group also slammed the Social Welfare department for its P10-billion unspent funds, saying that around 4 million beneficiaries of the agency’s Social Amelioration Program were not able to receive their share of the financial assistance from the government.
“We would have to agree with the senators, why did the DSWD not look for the 4 million beneficiaries themselves given that the LGU did not submit complete lists? Plenty of families did not receive the assistance that was promised to them and the LGUs also complained of insufficient allocation. Where did all that budget go? Where was it being used?” Paglinawan said, echoing questions of Senators during the deliberations.
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