By Armando Fenequito Jr.
DAVAO CITY — First District Rep. Paolo Z. Duterte asked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday to explain the delay in the distribution of financial assistance that his office allocated and coursed through the agency.
Duterte said he allocated P20 million for tricycle drivers from the city’s 1st District as well as single parents who were affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
He said the money has been downloaded to the regional office of DOLE on April 29, 2020.
“It’s been a month but nothing is happening yet. Why? We know the hardship being experienced by these sectors and we wanted to provide relief, that’s why we worked out the release of this budget but it looks like the money is not being spent for its intended purpose,” he said.
He said the agency should be held accountable for this.
Duterte said the amount was intended to help around 2,000 tricycle drivers and a number of single parents through DOLE’s program “Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers” or Tupad.
He said his office learned that only 297 tricycle drivers have received the cash aid.
“One month and we are only talking about 297 drivers out of the 2,000 target. And what about the single parents?,” he said.
He said there is an obvious need for the DOLE to expedite its process, or fix the root of the problem.
“We cannot always make excuses. If the process of verification is making the distribution slow, then there is a problem with the process and the problem has to be fixed,” he said.
“These people are experiencing unimaginable hardship these days, and the more we delay the distribution, it becomes harder and harder for them,” Duterte added.
He called on Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to look into this.
“He should look into this matter and urgently act on this,” he said.
“DOLE as an implementing agency has a lot of explaining to do,” the congressman added.
Duterte said he also gave financial assistance to 1,451 “trisikad” drivers in Davao through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
He said that through the Department of Health, his office also assisted a total of 964 patients under quarantine in Davao Region.
Duterte said both interventions were implemented with urgency.
“We hope DOLE will also implement the project with a sense of urgency,” he said.