1M workers to benefit from gov’t emergency employment program
MANILA, Philippines — Approximately one million workers belonging to the informal sectors of the economy will benefit from the government’s emergency employment program as the country reels from the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) said on Sunday.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III ordered the implementation of the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers (Tupas) program to assist informal sector workers recover from job losses during the lockdown to arrest the spread of the virus.
Dole’s modified Tupad dubbed Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko, or Tupad #BKBK, in which beneficiaries were paid the minimum wage in their respective areas for 10 days of disinfection and sanitation work of their dwellings and immediate vicinity benefited more than 337,000 workers.
The regular Tupad program is seen to reach about 962,000 informal sector workers, a huge part of whom or more than 540,000 had sought assistance under the BKBK program, said Bello.
In an administrative order issued on May 1, Bello directed that the program be implemented to tap workers in helping local government units (LGUs) in the delivery of essential goods and services like personal hygiene materials, medicines and personal protective equipment for front-liners and the general public.
He also ordered the hiring of workers for 10 days to assist in packing relief goods and other jobs to be determined by the LGUs; extending transport services for front-line workers or setting up mobile markets; and sanitation and disinfection of communities provided they strictly observe the physical distancing protocols.
The program will commence this month and run until June in areas under general community quarantine. It will require a budget of at least P4 billion.
Bello said a separate enhanced Tupad was being finalized as a component of the post-COVID-19 recovery package prepared by the labor department. The program involves a three-month employment scheme for informal workers who will take advantage of the Balik Probinsya program.
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