To prevent further anomalies in the implementation of its Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will adopt new security measures to ensure all beneficiaries of the program are qualified.
DOLE’s Bureau of Workers with Special Concern (BWSC) announced on Monday it will be including a quick response (QR) code in the identification cards (ID) of its TUPAD beneficiaries, upon instructions of Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III.
BWSC Director Ma. Karen Trayvilla explained the ID is crucial since TUPAD beneficiaries are required to present it before claiming their pay from money remittance centers.
“The security feature that we added should be immediately complied with based on the memorandum of the [Labor] Secretary,” Trayvilla said.
Under TUPAD, displaced informal workers are required to do emergency work, usually lasting from 10 to 15 days, in exchange for being paid the minimum wage.
Bello required the adoption of the new measure after the reported irregularities in the implementation of TUPAD in some districts in Quezon City.
This resulted in the suspension of the program in the said areas pending a probe by DOLE and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Citing the results of the initial investigation, Trayvilla said some of the observed anomalies in the areas are collection of unauthorized fees, presence of ghost beneficiaries, and non-implementation of the project.
They are waiting for submission of the final investigation report of DOLE-National Capital Region (NCR) before filing charges against the perpetrator.
Currently, there is one suspect, who allegedly “deviated” from established guidelines by registering unqualified beneficiaries for the TUPAD program then making illegal deductions in the payout of the victims.
Asked if DOLE will still push through with ecalling the payouts from the unqualified beneficiaries, Trayvilla said they are trying to consider other options to address the matter.
“Because at this point of time, there is a pandemic and then we will ask them to return the money. So we are studying other recourse for those who received [the TUPAD wages] but are not entitled to it,” Trayvilla said.
In a related development, DOLE also scored government officials who are wrongfully claiming TUPAD as their program, in an apparent bid to draw goodwill ahead of the 2022 elections.
Bello said in a statement last Monday.
Trayvilla said they are trying to address the matter by orienting beneficiaries that TUPAD is a program of DOLE.
The DOLE cannot directly call out the usurping officials since such is beyond their mandate.
It will be up to the public to file the complaint before the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) if they want these officials disciplined, according to Trayvilla.