The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Mangaggawa (SENTRO) labor center is fully endorsing the proposal of Senator Risa Hontiveros, calling for the Government’s cash assistance of at least P10,000 to contractual workers and those in the informal sector, to help them tide over the one-month community quarantine imposed in Metro Manila due to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
“In fact, we believe that the P10,000 assistance should actually be provided to all those affected by COVID-19,” Daniel L. Edralin, Chairperson of SENTRO, said.
While all types of workers are affected by the pandemic and by many of the government’s ill-conceived policies to contain it, contractual workers and those in the informal sector are the ones hit hardest. 46% of all those employed are considered daily-wage earners.
The P10,000 assistance will go a long way in ensuring that, the families of contractual workers and those in the informal sector who are adversely affected by COVID-19, and by the NCR-wide lockdown, would have food on their tables.
“Our individual immunity is our best defense against COVID-19.
Unfortunately, hunger severely weakens our immunity,” Edralin said.
“Hunger would render more people vulnerable to COVID-19. This is why Duterte spokesperson, Salvador Panelo’s remarks on hunger is deeply offensive,” he added.
SENTRO is urging the Government to quickly approve the proposed cash assistance and release it promptly to the affected workers.
“There should be minimal problems in implementing this, as the DSWD already has a household targeting system in place,” Edralin said.
SENTRO is also convinced that this crisis should serve as a wake-up call, bitter as it is, for Government to prioritize investment in building up our Public Health System. This would cover, not only the health infrastructure, but also the upgrading of the salary levels of all medical professionals to encourage them to stay in the country. This would also require heavy investment in health-related research and development (R&D), including establishing our country’s own center for disease control and prevention, to bolster the country’s capacity in dealing with pandemics.