Wise move: DOLE reprograms TUPAD on the fly to help gov't beat COVID pandemic

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sec. Silvestre Bello III has highlighted the reprogrammed nature of the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program, which has allowed it to be more responsive to the national government's needs when it comes to the pandemic.


Bello, in a radio interview on Saturday, April 17, said local government units (LGUs) that need additional contract tracers for their anti-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) efforts may start recruiting them under the agency's TUPAD program.

The application and processing of contact tracer applicants from the National Capital Region (NCR) under TUPAD started on Saturday. It will run until April 22.

Bello said he has informed the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) of his readiness to support the requirements of various LGUs for additional contact tracers, especially in areas where there are high COVID-19 cases.

“In our meeting with the DILG, I already told Acting Secretary (Bernardo) Florece that he can allocate to any LGU the number of contact tracers to be employed under our TUPAD program,” he said.

Bello has earlier given DOLE regional directors the discretion to approve requests of local chief executives to tap TUPAD beneficiaries as contact tracers in their respective areas.

“Since the DILG has problems funding the contact tracing of LGUs, I thought it wise to offer our TUPAD program for that purpose. In this manner, we are not only providing emergency employment to our displaced workers but also helping the urgent need of the community to stop the spread of the disease through contact tracing,” he said in explaining the advantages of the move.

TUPAD is DOLE's emergency employment program for displaced or disadvantaged informal sector workers. Some P231 million under the program has been set aside for the hiring of contact tracers--a key tool in curbing the current COVID-19 surge in the NCR and elsewhere.

DOLE-Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) Dir. Ma. Karina Trayvilla said last week that the budget will be used to hire some 5,000 contact tracers on minimum wage and a work tenure of three months.

TUPAD beneficiaries are normally those displaced by natural calamities like typhoon, earthquake, volcanic eruption, or disasters and accidents like fire, etc.

At the height of the lockdowns last year, TUPAD worker were tapped to carry out disinfection and sanitation of their homes and their immediate neighbourhood as a way to contain the spread of the virus.