“If there is a will, there is a way. It should not be difficult for the government to allocate money for these programs. Particularly for the paid quarantine leaves of workers affected by the contact tracing, we are looking at around Php 27 billion and for those affected by floating, it can be as high as over Php 100 billion. It seems like a lot but the daily sacrifice of our economic frontliners is worth more than that. Not to mention the fact Congress is talking of several trillions of national budget,” Carandang said.
The group added that these social protection schemes should be part of the government economic recovery plan. “Even before the pandemic, workers are already struggling to survive with high prices and meager wages. How do you think a minimum wage earner will recover from his debts if he is placed in no work no pay for 14 days of quarantine? How can she survive 60 days of floating with no pay at the same time that the labor market remains sluggish? Can we really expect our economy to recover if a substantial portion of our workers and their families live under these conditions?,” Carandang said.
Alongside the calls for budget allocation, MWAP reiterated its call to legislators to fast-track the passage of paid pandemic leave bill and other proposals for social protection legislations. “As the pandemic situation continues to evolve due to new variants like Delta, more workers and their families become vulnerable to illness and loss of income. We hope Congress will tackle these matters with a sense of compassion and urgency,” Carandang ended.#