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DOLE starts P350-M cash aid distribution to workers

LEGAZPI CITY --- Over 70,000 Bicolanos affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and displaced by the three typhoons that hit the region have now started to receive the cash assistance coming from the government as mandated by Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) approved last Sept. 20, 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Bicol said.

Johanna Vi Gasga, DOLE-Bicol spokesperson, said that their main office has released to Bicol P200-million for the Tulong Panghanapbuhay Para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or TUPAD, and P150.1-million for the Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program or CAMP, programs both funded under Bayanihan 2. Gasga said that a TUPAD beneficiary will receive P5,000 for a 16-day work, that would include clearing the debris left by the typhoons.

Of the 40,000 TUPAD beneficiaries, according to Gasga, 10,000 of them come from Albay with P50-million allocation; 9,600 from Catanduanes; 6,000 apiece from Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte, with P30-million budget each province; 4,400 from Sorsogon, with P22-million; and, 4,000 from Masbate, with P20-million allocation.

Gasga said that the TUPAD program recipients are informal or marginalized workers, including self-employed, underemployed, and other workers who do not have “payslip” as basis for their work payment, adding that “only one person is qualified in one household.”

“The P5,000 is computed from the minimum wage in Bicol of P310/day for 16 days and four hours’ work for every TUPAD beneficiary,” Gasga told Bicol Mail.

She said that DOLE has tapped as accredited co-partners the local government units (LGUs), provincial governments, state universities and colleges (SUCs), and workers associations. These accredited co-workers will be tasked to identify and profile the target TUPAD beneficiaries, Gasga added.

She said that members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and barangay and government officials are disqualified as TUPAD recipients.

Gasga said that DOLE personnel have already started paying each TUPAD beneficiary P2,500, or half of the P5,000, even before they could finish their 16-day work.

“We will release to them the remaining P2,500 once they already completed the 16-day work duration. And they are only required to work for four hours a day,” Gasga explained.

As to the CAMP program, DOLE 5 is targeting 30,023 beneficiaries across Bicol for a “first come, first serve basis” with the allocation of P150.1-million.

Gasga said that private employers whose businesses are affected by Covid-19 pandemic are the ones to apply for their employees in order to avail of the CAMP program cash assistance of P5,000 each beneficiary. She explained that interested employers have to apply online for their employees to be included in the CAMP program.

“Companies that adopt a work from home scheme, reduced working hours of the workers, or implemented an alternative work arrangements (AWA), and were not included in the CAMP recipients under Bayanihan 1, will be prioritized in CAMP under Bayanihan 2,” Gasga added.

She said that around 25,000 workers received cash assistance in CAMP under Bayanihan 1, adding that DOLE Bicol is targeting 30,023 beneficiaries under Bayanihan 2, Gasga added.

Gasga said DOLE has a tall order to finish the distribution of the government’s cash aid to the beneficiaries before Christmas.

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