Add’l P500M for TUPAD program to help more calamity victims sought

Senator Francis Escudero has sought to expand the Department of Labor's (DOLE) Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program to extend more assistance to victims of natural calamities. Escudero proposed to carve out some PHP500 million from the calamity fund of the President as a Quick Response Fund (QRF) for DOLE to use the TUPAD program for the recovery of people in calamity-hit areas. 'Your honor, may we suggest in the proper time that we carve out from the calamity fund of the President, an amount, as a QRF fund for the DOLE's TUPAD to help areas affected by calamities to recover,' he said in a news release. He believes that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. will not object 'because the Labor Secretary, at the end of the day, is his alter-ego.' Escudero proposed that TUPAD program be expanded to cover calamity victims, similar to a local program he implemented while he was governor of Sorsogon, wherein their affected constituents were employed until they recover from the effects of the typhoon. At present, the TUPAD program provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum period of 10 days, but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days depending on the nature of work to be performed. He also proposed to include special provisions that the program can be implemented for more than 90 days, and it can include the same beneficiaries more than once in a calendar year if it is for the purpose of helping them recover from a calamity, a pandemic or a tragedy. Escudero also suggested to include wasted or severely wasted parents or siblings which will last for at least 180 days and not 90 days, specify the amount to be earmarked as QRF, which DOLE can tap for its TUPAD program in calamity-hit areas. Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, who sponsored DOLE's budget for 2024, lauded Escudero for his 'brilliant' suggestion and vowed to introduce a special provision in the General Appropriations Bill to make the TUPAD program sus tainable. Source: Philippines News agency