MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Tuesday urged concerned government agencies to look into the plight of thousands of displaced workers in the live events industry whose livelihood are severely affected by community quarantine measures amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
The live events industry consists of events, such as meetings, conferencing, exhibitions, concerts involving international and local artists, theatrical productions, corporate, social, cultural, fashion, sporting, and club events, weddings and family celebrations, trade fairs and exhibits, and on-ground activation and sampling activities.
“Among displaced workers, those who are engaged in live events or ordinary workers in the entertainment industry, as well as those engaged in businesses that cannot operate at this time, must be given utmost attention by the government,” Go said.
“I urge concerned government agencies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), to look into the situation of these displaced workers and ensure that there are programs that can assist them in overcoming the burden caused by the ongoing crisis,” he said.
Go, a member of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee monitoring the progress of the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, suggested that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) can provide emergency assistance via their Assistance for Individuals in Crisis Situations Program.
He also suggested that affected businesses engaged in this particular industry may be able to avail of emergency loans and financing programs for micro, small and medium enterprises through the DTI’s Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) Program.
“Let us help ease the burden of those in this industry. Nobody should be neglected at these times. Let us work together to overcome this crisis so that every Filipino will recover immediately,” Go said in Filipino.
The National Live Events Coalition (NLEC) recently appealed for government assistance for their members after the multi-billion industry suffered huge losses due to prohibitions against large crowd gatherings, and caused the displacement of thousands of its workers.
The organization, composed of some 30,000 MSMEs, said since it is losing clients due to the pandemic, some of its members may have to close down or will operate only at 10-percent capacity.
“This is definitely a huge blow to our economy and the huge contribution it could have brought. More importantly, maraming Pilipino ang mawawalan ng kabuhayan (a lot of Filipinos would lose their livelihood),” Go said.
He is hoping that once data shows that the spread of Covid-19 is eventually controlled, more provinces and cities under modified general community quarantine can provide guidelines for these industries to resume operations following required health protocols.
Although the live events industry sector is not specified in the latest Senate version of the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, Go is also urging the country’s economic managers to look into the matter and explore more opportunities for the government to extend help to this sector in these trying times.
“There are provisions in the Senate version of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act for subsidies, loan programs, and other social assistance that can assist employees of the sector),” Go said. Cielito Reganit /PNA – northboundasia.com