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DOLE-Bicol mum on Congress members’ intervention in TUPAD implementation

By Bobby Q. Labalan

The Department of Labor and Employment-Bicol (DOLE-Bicol) remained silent on the intervention by members of Congress in the implementation of government livelihood programs that the agency is handling.

DOLE -Bicol Regional Director Zenaida Angara-Campita dodged question on why House members, especially partylist groups, are allowed to oversee or handle the implementation of the “Tulong-Pangkabuhayan sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers” (TUPAD) program.

In a letter to Mediaworks Communication, Campita said that the implementation of TUPAD is being handled by the DOLE and that “the program operates through direct administration by DOLE or co-partnership in collaboration with provincial government units (PGUs), local government units (LGUs) and barangay local government units (BLGUs)”. She cited DOLE’s Department Order No. 239, Series of 2023 as the lasts issuance that governs the program.

However, the said order defines co-partner as referring to “program partner which may be peoples’/workers’ organization, union, association, federation, cooperative, business association, church-based organization, educational institution, or private foundation, or national/local government agencies.

As defined by the Commission on Audit (COA), a government agency “refers to any of the various units of the government including departments, bureaus, offices, agencies and instrumentalities, GOCCs, LGUs and SUCs or a distinct unit therein” which does not include Congress.

Campita said in the same letter that their co-partners were mostly LGUs however, when shown with numerous photos of Congress members especially partylist organizations spearheading the implementation of the TUPAD Program though its DOLE-Bicol’s messenger chat group, the agency did not respond.

Facebook pages of several House members and partylist groups in Bicol are replete with photos and other posts showing their participation and intervention in the implementation of TUPAD and similar livelihood programs of the DOLE.

Earlier, former Senator Panfilo Lacson lambasted congress members for their participation in the program saying it is illegal pointing out that Congress’ role in the budgeting process is limited to budget authorization and not budget implementation which is an exclusive turf of the executive branch of the government.

Campita said that in 2023, some 21 9,954 individuals benefitted from the TUPAD program in the entire Bicol Region wherein “a total of P1,013,230,452.45 was disbursed as wages to the beneficiaries”.

“The TUPAD program has had a significant positive impact on the community, providing temporary wage employment to disadvantaged workers, improving sanitation through various projects, mitigating flooding in flood-prone areas, generating additional income through community gardening initiatives’ and supporting families affected by natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions+, the DOLE official said.

Campita stressed that “the TUPAD program has undeniably contributed to the well-being and economic development of communities in the Bicol Region, aligning with its objectives of providing temporary employment and improving living conditions for disadvantaged workers.”


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