Database sharing ensures there is no duplication of beneficiaries — Bello

Published June 25, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has allayed concerns on duplication in the beneficiaries of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) assistance programs for informal sector workers.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III speaks before the media during a press conference with President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City on Friday. The government has imposed a ban on deployment of Filipino workers in Kuwait following the death of domestic helpers due to alleged abuses of their employers. (Keith Bacongco)
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

Bello, in a Senate hearing on Wednesday, June 24, said concerned government agencies have been sharing their databases for the implementation of the various of social amelioration programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nagkaroon sila ng (They had a) fear of duplication, but we informed them that there could be no duplication because there is data-sharing agreement,” Bello told the Senate labor panel.

“Hindi mag-duduplicate ‘yan kasi mayroon (There would be no duplication because there is a) joint memorandum agreement between agencies, where there is a required data sharing. Hindi magkakaroon ng duplication (There would be no duplication),” he reiterated.

The DOLE chief’s statement came after the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) found 47,830 duplicate beneficiaries in the first phase of the emergency subsidy program, which amounted to over P458 million.

Senator Francis Tolentino, during the hearing, insisted to Bello the need for an updated and accurate data on the number of workers in the Philippines, especially with the proposed institutionalization of the DOLE’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantage/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program, which was filed by Senator Joel Villanueva.

Tolentino questioned the accuracy of the department’s data about the country’s informal workers, which he said was based on a 12-year-old labor force survey.

He also cited a news report quoting the DOLE’s Bureau of Workers and Special Concerns (BWSC) as saying that Philippines might only be the ASEAN country without any formal statistical indicator for informal sector workers.

Tolentino said the DOLE’s basis was also not consistent with international standards for including self-employed workers in the informal economy.

“So napakagulo po ng ating database, paano po tayo makakareport na ito po ang kailangan natin bigyan sa TUPAD (So our database is confusing, how will we be able to report that these are workers that we have to help under TUPAD)?…Baka naman po iyong figures natin ay mali-mali o baka malayo doon sa realidad kaya baka mali rin ang ating evaluation po dito (Maybe our figures are wrong or are far from reality, and that we might have a wrong evaluation),” he asked.

Bello, in response, assured that the DOLE’s database on workers has been validated by their regional offices.

“Ito kasing TUPAD is an ongoing project, your honor, ‘di ito yong bago, a fixed program of the department, kaya merong basis on the number of informal workers. May kategorya yan, may basis for their identification as informal workers,” he said.

Tolentino, however, said that this “will not remove justification to update your data on the number informal sector workers, not just for database purposes, but for proper implementation of the program.”

Last May, Bello 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 strict lockdowns imposed by the government.

He said about 962,000 informal sector workers are seen to benefit from the TUPAD program.