Retrenched MEZ workers receive DSWD cash aid

MORE than 4,000 retrenched workers at the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) in Lapu-Lapu City were given aid by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022.

Each of the 4,203 workers affected by the retrenchment program of Sports City Inc., a locator at the MEZ, received P2,000 to P5,000 and family food packs.

DSWD Central Visayas Director Shalaine Lucero said during a press conference that their department has allocated P21 million for the cash aid and P2.3 million for the food packs.

Last Sept. 29, Sports City Inc. announced the workers’ retrenchment aimed to keep their business afloat and continue the employment of 75 percent of the company’s total workforce which is more than 18,000.

On Sept. 30, the City Council passed a resolution requesting the DSWD to provide immediate assistance to the displaced workers.

Upon hearing the news, Lucero said DSWD 7 immediately conducted a multi-sectoral meeting to determine interventions that can be given to the retrenched workers.

Lapu-Lapu City Councilor Annabeth Cuizon also said Mayor Junard Chan also instructed the City’s Public Employment Service Office (Peso) to accommodate the affected workers for possible job placement.

Cuizon said 155 retrenched individuals who went to Peso to look for a job were already being assisted by the city government for possible job placement.

Financial assistance

Meanwhile, Lucero said to enable them to provide immediate relief, the DSWD used its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (Aics) since the displaced workers would fall under this category.

“We also know that these workers have children and we still don’t know when they can find a job; so we are looking at the angle of crisis situation,” said Lucero in a mix of Cebuano and English.

The amount given by the DSWD to each worker depended on the evaluation done by social workers. Among the basis was the amount of the separation pay received by the employee after being retrenched.

The financial assistance and food packs were just the immediate intervention of the DSWD, Lucero said.

By profiling each retrenched worker, the agency can determine other interventions that can be offered to the affected employees, Lucero explained.

“The intervention would not be only during retrenchment but looking beyond because that is the role of DSWD to ensure that no one will fall into hardship,” she added.

Lucero further said they received unverified reports that another 116 workers from different MEZ companies have been retrenched as well.

Once the report is validated, Lucero said the DSWD will help these affected workers as well.

“We can safely say that we have accomplished successfully our mission to help our people, especially those workers who were out of jobs, who were retrenched from their work,” said DSWD Undersecretary Alan Tanjusay.

Tanjusay said the employers cooperated with the government in providing the names of their retrenched employees which led to an expedited evaluation process and the immediate release of the assistance.