by Fernan Gianan
Beginning the next issue, the Tribune will be back to its normal number of pages and print run, after being impacted by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
While the transition to the current General Community Quarantine allowed the reopening of our supplier in Metro Manila, the materials will arrive too late for use in this six-page issue.
With the unavailability of printing materials to replenish those we use each issue, we were forced to reduce the number of pages to as low as four from the usual minimum of eight pages.
The number of printed copies was also cut by a third, to just a thousand, in view of the closure of stores which served as our outlets, and the absence of public transports through which we usually send the copies to our distributors.
This forced the management to boost our on-line presence, especially on social media, so readers will have an alternative in the absence of the hard copy.
For helping the Tribune continue reaching out to our loyal readers throughout the island, we express our heartfelt gratitude to Mayor Honesto Tabligan II of Pandan, Mayor Glenda Aguilar of Caramoran, Mayor Emeterio Tarin of Viga and Mayor Remegio Villaluna of Bagamanoc, the Payo MDRRM Office, Baras municipal engineer Noe Teves, Rev. Fr. Rommel Arcilla, Dr. Nerisa Samar of the Viga district hospital, the Pandan district hospital ambulance crew, and former PBM Juan Velchez for serving as Tribune couriers at one time or another during this trying period. Mabuhay po kayo!
In a press release apparently written by Gerry S. Rubio, the division chief of the Information and Publication Service (IPS) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 will have to be followed by workers and employers in the private sector as many businesses reopen under GCQ.
The article, which appears on page 2 of this issue, is a must-read for employers and their workers in the private sector. They would be well advised to read the entire guidelines which can be found in the DOLE website.
While micro businesses with only two or three workers would find these rules bothersome as they to restart their operations, the same guidelines should be taken to heart by the rest of the establishments in the island.
Sure, the need to recoup losses in the past months is imperative. But this should be balanced with the logical goal of keeping one’s employees, and the business itself, alive.
The problem with the government’s promise to assist workers in the private sector as well as the self-employed, including tricycle drivers, is that it did not have adequate funds for the purpose.
Only a fraction of local tricycle drivers were able to enroll in the TUPAD#BKBK program that was intended to give them P3,100 for ten days of working to disinfect their own homes.
As for DOLE’s much promoted COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), the money ran out before the applications of many affected companies who applied for the subsidy were approved.
A scan of the list of those granted the P5,000 CAMP benefit to each idled worker shows that majority of the companies granted the assistance came from the Bicol mainland.
Those denied by DOLE were told to avail of SSS’s Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS), only to find the agency’s website shut down even after the original deadline for applications lapsed.
The private sector and its workers have been most affected by the lockdown, with many employees left off the list of SAP beneficiaries for the reason that they could avail of the DOLE or SSS subsidies.
Now, majority these businesses which make up the bulk of the Philippine economy could find it hard to recover from their losses.
THE STAND-IN. A guy playing trombone in the opera gets a fantastic freelance gig on the day he has to play in the opera. He tries to find a replacement but without success.
Finally he goes to his housekeeper and convinces him to be the replacement. “I’ll give you my other trombone. You just look at what the guy next to you is doing and it will be OK.”
Next morning, he asks the housekeeper how it went.
“Catastrophe. Your colleague sent his housekeeper as well.”