Sans addl budget, DOLE eyes part of ₧4-B TUPAD fund for job generation amid lockdown
WITH still no additional funding for its cash aid program, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced it would just provide emergency employment to around 400,000 workers, who may be displaced due to lockdowns nationwide.
In an online briefing on Wednesday, DOLE spokesman Rolly Francia disclosed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has yet to respond to their request for P2-billion fund for their Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).
Under CAMP, DOLE provides qualified beneficiaries in the formal sector with a one-time P5,000 financial assistance.
Pending the said request, Francia said, DOLE would have to make use of a portion of its remaining Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/displaced Workers (TUPAD) fund, which is currently around P4 billion.
TUPAD is an existing program of DOLE, which provides emergency employment to displaced informal sector workers. Its beneficiaries are paid at a minimum wage level.
Francia said they might tap TUPAD beneficiaries to help in the government’s contact tracing measures, particularly in Metro Manila, amid a spike in Covid-19 cases.
LAST Tuesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III sent a letter to DBM containing the said request to help an estimated 398,000 displaced workers, who may lose their jobs in areas, which will be placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ (MECQ) in five regions.
Of the said target beneficiaries, 155,220 will be from the National Capital Region (NCR), which will be placed under ECQ starting on Friday.
DOLE is also targeting to provide CAMP benefits in the following regions: Central Luzon (59,700 beneficiaries); Calabarzon (35,820 beneficiaries); Western Visayas (31,840); and Northern Mindanao (7,960 beneficiaries).
The requested CAMP benefits will also be used to help 107,460 beneficiaries in other areas that may be placed under lockdown this year.
Francia said DOLE might also ask for additional funding for its Abot Kamay sa pagtulong sa mga OFW (AKAP) program, which provides displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFW) with a one-time P10,000 cash aid.
FRANCIA noted that CAMP would be separate from the P13.1-billion financial assistance to be provided by the national government to help over 10 million people, who will be affected by the ECQ in NCR.
He explained DOLE would no longer be able to contribute to the cash aid from the national government since it no longer has any unobligated fund for the said purpose.
In a radio interview on Wednesday, DBM said Bello’s request for more CAMP budget is unlikely to be granted for now since DOLE still has an existing TUPAD budget, which it could use to assist displaced workers.