BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
The ongoing pandemic has resulted in the closure of 1,446 business establishments in Negros Occidental, as of September last year, affecting thousands of workers, Wennie Sancho, labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board Region 6, said yesterday.
Sancho, who is also the secretary general of the General Alliance of Workers Associations, said that this was based on the regional economic profile showed during their virtual meeting and consultation on Wednesday and Monday.
As of May, only about 315 business establishments fully reopened, while 205 partially resumed operations and 12 had stopped operating in Western Visayas due to the pandemic, he said.
In Boracay alone, it was reported that less than 20 percent of the business establishments are operational, Sancho added.
Aside from the unemployment brought by the pandemic, the focus of discussion of the RTWPB was to address the problem of a large number of workers not yet vaccinated in Region 6.
While the labor and business sectors had already sent letters of appeal to vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez, the members of the Wage Board unanimously approved a resolution urging the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force to assist and facilitate the request for additional volume of vaccines against Covid-19.
Sancho said it was strongly suggested by the RTWPB that the Department of Health should allocate the unused vaccines to the workers and to report the non-availment rate of vaccines in Western Visayas.
He emphasized that the labor sector manifested that the government should be consistent with its priority program amid allegations that there were those who were not under the priority list but were vaccinated because of their political connections.*