By Leslie Ann G. Aquino
Close to a million workers in the informal economy will benefit from the government’s emergency employment program called Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD).
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III has ordered the implementation of the TUPAD program as a post-COVID intervention measure to help informal sector workers recover from economic displacement and loss of income due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“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,” he said in a statement.
The Labor department earlier implemented the TUPAD – Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko (BKBK) program after the imposition of ECQ in Luzon.
TUPAD-BKBK benefited more than 337,000 workers who were paid the minimum wage in their respective areas for 10 days of disinfection and sanitation work of their dwellings and immediate vicinity.
In an administrative order issued on May 1, Bello directed that the TUPAD program be implemented to tap workers to help local government units in the delivery of essential goods and services like personal hygiene materials, medicines, and personal protective equipment for frontliners and the general public.
Bello also ordered the hiring of workers for 10 days to assist in packing relief goods and other jobs to be determined by the LGUs; handle transport services for frontline workers or in setting up mobile markets; and perform the sanitation and disinfection of communities, provided they strictly observe physical distancing protocols.
TUPAD is a short-term emergency employment program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to mitigate the impact of calamities, disasters, and epidemics on informal economy workers.
The program will commence this month and run until June in areas under general community quarantine.
The Labor department said the program will require a budget of at least P4 billion.