DOLE seeks budget increases for programs for COVID-affected workers

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Monday asked the Senate to support the budget increases for two of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) programs for workers affected by COVID-19.

At a Senate budget hearing, Bello–who was physically present at the deliberations–requested bigger allocations for TUPAD and CAMP in the proposed 2022 national budget .

The Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program is a community-based package of assistance that will provide temporary wage employment for displaced workers, underemployed, and self-employed workers.

CAMP, or the COVID-19 Adjustment Measure Program, seeks to provide one-time financial support to affected workers in the formal sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hopefully our proposal will get the approval of this honorable body as well the Office of the President so that we can provide all these amelioration assistance that we could extend to all workers from informal, to the formal, and the overseas workers,” Bello said.

The DOLE has proposed a P44.36-billion budget for 2022, an increase of P7.758 billion from its current year’s budget of P36.607 billion.

The 7.7-billion increase includes P2 billion for TUPAD as well as P4.8 billion for the emergency repatriation program.

Senator Sonny Angara asked DOLE if the agency has prepared a program specifically intended for hard-hit workers such as laborers in the tourism, construction, and transportation sectors.

According to Labor Undersecretary Dominique Tutay, DOLE has established the National Employment Recovery Strategy or NERS in partnership with the Employers Confederation of the Philippines to help tourism-related workers find opportunities in sectors which have high-demand in employment.

She said DOLE is already coordinating with relevant stakeholders in the information technology, business process outsourcing, electronics, and construction businesses to “transition” displaced workers to industries with high demand in terms of employment.

The Senate panel approved DOLE’s proposed budget for 2022 at the committee level. — BM, GMA News

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