Sans addl budget, DOLE eyes part of ₧4-B TUPAD fund for job generation amid lockdown

- By Samuel P. Medenilla @sam_medenilla

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.

Nationwide target

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.

Unlikely approval

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.

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