Press Release
November 16, 2023


Sen. Chiz Escudero has sought to expand the Tulong Panghanap-buhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program of the Department of Labor (DOLE) to extend more assistance to victims of natural calamities.

Taking the floor during Wednesday's plenary deliberation of the 2024 budget of the DOLE, the veteran legislator further proposed to curve out some P500 million from the calamity fund of the President as a Quick Response Fund (QRF) for DOLE to use 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," Escudero said.

"May I suggest P500 million... I don't think the President will complain nor object because the Labor Secretary, at the end of the day, is his alter-ego," he added.

Escudero said he would like TUPAD to 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.

"The deal was for them to not to clean or repair their own house but clean and repair the house of their neighbor and they can do it among themselves. This enabled our affected barangays at that time in Sorsogon to recover from calamity with their heads held up high and without really depending on dole outs and asking for help without giving anything in return," Escudero recalled.

At present, the TUPAD 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.

To expand the program's coverage, Escudero recommended the following:

  •  Amend the guidelines of TUPAD or include in 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;

  •  Expand the program to include wasted or severely wasted parents or siblings which will last for at least 180 days and not 90 days; and

  •  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 sustainable.

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