Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

MANILA – An international organization has recognized the government’s effort in providing emergency employment assistance to workers to help cushion the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Saturday.

In a statement, the DOLE said the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has acknowledged the agency’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD).

“The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has cited the labor department’s social protection program for informal sector workers in addressing the global Covid 19 pandemic,” it said.

The DOLE said the FAO, in a recent report, said the Philippines is among only 11 countries out of the 84 introduced social protection measures to address the impact of Covid-19, which adopted such programs that specifically targeted the most vulnerable informal sector workers of the economy.

Aside from the Philippines, the other countries cited for such programs are Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Egypt, Australia, Thailand, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia.

“The most common measures taken so far include the introduction of cash grants and food distribution for vulnerable groups and temporary employment schemes for informal workers,” FAO said.

“In the Philippines, informal workers who have temporarily lost their livelihood can apply for a temporary employment programme, limited to 10 days of work involving disinfection/sanitation of their houses and immediate vicinities. Beneficiaries will have orientation on safety and health, payment of 100 percent of the highest prevailing minimum wage, and will be enrolled into group micro-insurance,” the report added.

FAO referred to the DOLE’s modified TUPAD Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko Disinfection/Sanitation Project, or TUPAD #BKBK, an employment creation program that provides emergency employment for displaced, underemployed and seasonal workers in the informal economy.

Qualified workers were paid the prevailing minimum wage set in their respective regions equivalent to 10 days.

The DOLE also reported that as of April 24, a total of 259,449 workers have availed the TUPAD #BKBK across all regions which exceed the initial target of 235,949 beneficiaries. Of this, 65 percent have completed their work and were paid a total of PHP723 million in wages.

More than 500,000 people have pending requests to be covered under the project. However, these pending requests will not all be covered due to dwindling funds.

The Bicol Region has served the highest number of workers under the TUPAD #BKBK with a total of 53,169 workers amounting to PHP68.8 million in wages paid.

This was followed by Calabarzon with a total of 23,808 affected informal workers at PHP60.4-million disbursement.

In Davao, TUPAD #BKBK workers have expressed how the project had provided a sense of security to be able to spend their wages on family necessities while in quarantine.

“DOLE quickly responded and taken measures in response to CoVID 19 pandemic affecting the formal sector, workers in the informal economy and the Overseas Filipino Workers. We hope that the TUPAD #BKBK can help alleviate the thousands of informal sector workers displaced by this crisis,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said. (PNA)

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