Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III disclosed that 67,347 beneficiaries from the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, collectively known as the NCR Plus, have been approved to date to receive the one-time Php 5,000 financial assistance under the DOT-DOLE Cash-For-Work Program of the Bayanihan 2.
Of this number, 6,817 beneficiaries are in Bulacan, 8,422 in Cavite, 14,161 in Laguna, 10,582 in Rizal, and 27,365 in NCR. The total disbursements amount to over Php 336.7 million as of April 6.
In today’s online awarding of certificates, 8,251 beneficiaries of the DOT-DOLE cash assistance program were recognized. NCR, 2,199; Bulacan, 901; Cavite, 924; Laguna, 2,490; and Rizal, 1,737, amounting to Php 41.2 million.
“We are hopeful that this financial assistance will provide some relief to our most affected stakeholders and tourism workers during these difficult times. While it may help in the short term, we believe that the best way to help stakeholders in the long-run is to develop a tourism industry that is stronger, more resilient, and more adaptable to change,” Puyat said in her opening remarks.
DOLE Secretary Bello added that the labor department will continuously provide assistance to the tourism workers despite the increasing odds brought by the pandemic. “Rest assured that DOLE will always give its full support to our workers in need. In the coming months, as we start to put our economy on its track, we hope that our tourism stakeholders will get back on their feet, stronger than before.”
Issued in February, the DOT-DOLE Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2021-001 (Amended Implementing Guidelines on Providing Financial Assistance and Cash-For-Work Program for Displaced Workers in the Tourism Sector) expanded its coverage of beneficiaries including Local Government-Licensed Tourism Support Service (TSS) enterprises, providers and associations of providers.
One of the beneficiaries from NCR, James Marcel Adame of the Philippine Association of Licensed Massage Therapists (PALMT) Inc., said,
“Lubos po kaming pinagpala ng Diyos na ginawarang tumanggap po ng napakahalagang grant mula sa DOLE at sa pakikipagtulungan po ng ahensyang kami po ay sakop, ang DOT. Kami po ay nagpapasalamat sa biyayang natanggap naming sa panahon ng pandemiyang hindi namin inaasahan. Tuwang tuwa po ako at ang aking pamilya. Lubos po akong nagpapasalamat sa inyong pagiging bukas-palad sa mga panahong wala po kaming hanapbuhay.”
Nationwide, a total of 355,797 workers from 13,752 establishments, organizations, and associations nationwide, as well as 12,321 tourism workers who applied individually, have been approved to receive financial assistance with a total of Php 1.8 billion. Actual disbursement or pay out amounts to Php 1.2 billion.
Meanwhile, the DOT is also in collaboration with the local government units (LGUs) and the tourism stakeholders in NCR Plus to provide programs and circuits for tourism recovery.
In Bulacan, a food mapping project is being developed by the DOT Region 3 to stimulate the province’s culinary and farm tourism destinations.
The Green Corridor Initiative (GCI) plays a vital role in Region 4A’s tourism recovery and response. Here, the DOT Region 4A formulated three tourism circuits in CALABARZON to promote sustainability and health and safety campaigns under the new normal. These include Metro Tagaytay Tourism Circuit in Cavite, SaRiLiNa Tourism Circuit in Laguna, and the Faith, Food, Art, Adventure and Nature Experience Tourism Circuit in Rizal.
The DOT-NCR’s domestic campaigns, on the other hand, include Metro Manila Travel by Hubs covering 10 cities within the region, and The Soul Circuit covering the regions of NCR, CALABARZON and Central Luzon.
These are but a few of the many programs the DOT has taken part or initiated around our regions to help the tourism industry in its recovery. Like the national government, which is taking a “whole of nation” approach in its massive vaccination campaign, we, too, are hoping for the continued support of our LGUs around the country, and the private sector to push our recovery forward,” the tourism chief said.