Iriga, Camarines Sur Mayor Madelaine Alfelor has defended the city government’s decision to include teachers of the University of Northeastern Philippines (UNEP) with those eligible for cash aid under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
In a statement sent to this reporter Sunday, the lady mayor argued that teachers employed under a “no work, no pay” scheme, even under a private institution, are considered informal workers.
Moreover, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has effectively “displaced” such educators, Alfelor claimed.
“One thing is clear, the teachers under a no work, no pay scheme are displaced workers,” she said.
“The perpetuation of [this] scheme, lack of adequate monetary funding to sustain school operations, clearance requirements, expiration of contracts during the period of lockdown, among others have affected the teachers in the private sectors.
“In fact, the private school teachers and staff are among the most vulnerable educational sectors. The government should also pay heed to the health and welfare of privately employed educational workers nationwide, especially now that their employment is at stake more than ever because of the economic impact brought by COVID-19,” her statement read.
“As such, the teachers herein are covered under the informal sector and are displaced workers by definition since they are employees under a ‘no work, no pay’ scheme. In fact, they have not received anything from DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment),” Alfelor said.
Alfelor was on the hot seat Thursday before members of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability as Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte laid out alleged violations of Iriga City as far as SAP rules were concerned.
One of them was the distribution of SAP money worth P5,000 to teachers at UNEP, which Villafuerte said was owned by the mayor’s family. The solon even presented as witnesses to the panel three teachers who claimed that Alfelor herself gave them the subsidy during a “secret” dole out within university grounds.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) officials reiterated during the hearing that only informal workers are qualified to benefit from the P200-billion SAP, which was a key feature of Republic Act (RA) No.11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
“A quick glance on the definition of formal sector, covers employees under the informal sector,” Alfelor said in her statement.
She further denied Villafuerte’s allegations that she abused Iriga’s Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the DSWD, which basically set the guidelines for the emergency subsidy program.
“There are no violations on any guidelines or provisions set forth in the [MOA] issued by the DSWD. All funds were given and successfully distributed to all the qualified Irigueños and were liquidated with the DSWD. All the beneficiaries who received the cash grant were validated and verified as part of the 18 million low-income families.
“I expressly declare that there is no violation of the law in the distribution of the [SAP] and that these unfair, unfounded, and malicious allegations malign not just my person but Iriga City despite the accomplishments of our city during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Alfelor said.