DOLE urged to expedite granting of ‘TUPAD’ program to poor families
Manila, Philippines – The national fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Tuesday called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to ‘speed up the distribution’ of its cash assistance program called the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged / Displaced Workers #Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko (TUPAD #BKBK) to the poor families who are affected by the one-month enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
Enacted through the Department Order No. 210, the TUPAD #BKBK program is a community based (municipality/barangay) package of assistance that aims to cushion or mitigate the impacts of the corona virus disease (COVID-19) to the displaced workers, underemployment, and self-employed workers.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA urged the DOLE to ‘closely coordinate’ with the local government units (LGUs) and ‘give them directives’ on how to gather and profile the beneficiaries.
“Most of the communities affected by the lockdown have yet to receive, not even a knowledge of this government’s cash assistance program. Thus, we call on the labor department together with its regional and provincial offices to compel LGUs to speed up efforts in profiling and distributing the cash assistance to their poor constituents,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list Representative, added that marginalized sectors such as fishers are ‘more than qualified’ to receive the cash assistance program as their income from fishing activity are impacted by the lockdown.
The fisherfolk leader and former solon said that ‘strict quarantine restrictions’ in checkpoints are preventing the fishers to deliver their fishery produce to major markets and fish ports, forcing them to sell their products at low price, while some end up in spoilage.
PAMALAKAYA said they have already instructed some of their local chapters in Luzon on how they could avail the cash assistance program, but demanded the LGUs to ‘sincerely and decisively address the demand of its people for an economic subsidy.’
Lastly, the group warned against ‘stumbling block provisions akin to the program for displaced workers that would require employers, who is a non-party, to submit names of its workers, causing non-distribution.’
“They keep on telling us to cooperate by staying home while containing the virus disease, but that seems implausible when we are already running out of our supplies and basic needs, thus we demand the government to immediately and unconditionally give us what is rightfully ours,” asserted Hicap. ###