30,000 OFW children in college to benefit from P1-B education subsidy

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2020   •   599

More than 30,000 college students who are dependents of repatriated, displaced, and deceased overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will benefit from the government’s P1 billion education subsidy, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed a memorandum of agreement to launch “Tabang OFW”. The program aims to provide a one-time financial assistance of P30,000 to one college-level dependent of a repatriated, displaced, or deceased OFW.

Bello said the program is just one of the government’s ways of reciprocating the sacrifices of overseas Filipinos.

“We hope this will go a long way in helping our OFWs and their children in these most challenging times. By doing this, we also hope we can partly repay our modern-day heroes,” he said.

Under the agreement the Labor Department shall issue orders, circulars or guidelines that will spell out the effective and efficient implementation of the program while the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will release the funds amounting to P1 billion to DOLE for its implementation.

The Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) will assist DOLE on the promotion and other information dissemination activities of the program. AAC

P600M fund earmarked for one-time aid to EC pensioners – Bello

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) has set aside around P600 million fund for the implementation of the one-time P20,000 assistance to vulnerable pensioners of the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the fund will benefit around 31,000 pensioners consisting of both private and public sector workers.

The ECC is an attached agency of the DOLE and Bello chairs the commission.

Bello’s announcement came after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Monday Administrative Order (AO) No. 39, which grants a one-time financial assistance to all Employees’ Compensation (EC) program pensioners for permanent partial disability (PPD), permanent total disability (PTD), and survivorship through ECC’s implementing agencies, Social Security System (SSS) for the private sector, and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for the public sector, once the implementing rules and regulations has been issued.

In signing the AO, Duterte recognized that the “adverse effects of the pandemic on the economy, supplementary health necessities for the battle against the virus, and restrictions imposed on our mobility and social interaction, have increased the financial and health burdens experienced by the EC pensioners.”

The ECC, SSS, and the GSIS have been tasked to set aside and release appropriate funding to cover the financial assistance from the Social Insurance Fund under the EC Program.

“This is great news for all EC pensioners who are further thrown into deep financial hardships made worse by the Covid pandemic. This attests to the President’s soft spot for the poor and the vulnerable,” Bello said.

ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis, for her part, said that all qualified pensioners do not need to apply to the GSIS or SSS, as it will be automatically granted to them in the same manner as their pension was processed.

LGUs may recruit TUPAD workers as contact tracers – Bello

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Local government units (LGU) may now utilize the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) cash for work program, Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced (TUPAD) to recruit contact tracers, the labor chief said.

In a statement, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that aside from Metro Manila, LGUs in other areas needing additional contact tracers may tap TUPAD beneficiaries as contact tracers in their respective jurisdictions.

Bello said he already informed the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) of this move to support the requirements of various LGUs for additional contact tracers, especially in areas with high cases of novel coronavirus disease.

DOLE regional directors have also been given the discretion to approve requests of local chief executives to tap TUPAD beneficiaries as contact tracers in their respective areas.

“In our meeting with the DILG, I already told Acting Secretary (Bernardo) Florece that he can allocate to any LGU the number of contact tracers to be employed under our TUPAD program,” he added.

Florece was designated as DILG officer in charge in March while Secretary Eduardo Año was on medical leave.

TUPAD is an emergency employment program for displaced informal sector workers. Beneficiaries are provided with temporary employment that runs between 10 days to 30 days, and paid the prevailing daily minimum wage in their respective areas.

Beneficiaries are normally those displaced by natural calamities like typhoon, earthquake, volcanic eruption or disasters and accidents like fire, among others.

“Since the DILG has problems funding the contact tracing of LGUs, I thought it wise to offer our TUPAD program for that purpose,” Bello said.

“In this manner, we are not only providing emergency employment to our displaced workers but also helping the urgent need of the community to stop the spread of the disease through contact tracing,” he added.

At the height of the lockdowns last year, DOLE said that TUPAD beneficiaries were engaged to undertake disinfection and sanitation of their homes and immediate neighborhood to contain the spread of the virus.

Bello had initially offered 14,000 TUPAD beneficiaries as contact tracers for the requirements of LGUs in the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna for a duration of one month.

But Metro Manila mayors requested that contract tracers be employed for three months instead for an allocation of P230 million equivalent to close to 5,000 contact tracers.

“The application and processing for NCR contact tracers under TUPAD started on Saturday and ends on April 22,” DOLE said.

DOLE prepares for nationwide job fair on May 1

Marje Pelayo   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is preparing for a national job summit on May 1 for Filipinos whose jobs have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency plans to gather business groups, private and public agencies to open job opportunities during the summit.

“Mayroon din tayong isinusulong na job summit para sa May 1. Ang layunin naman ng job summit na ito ay ma-recover talaga natin ang employment na nawala sa atin during the pandemic,” DOLE Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay said during the Laging Handa briefing.

The official said even DOLE’s regional offices and public employment offices are already looking for job vacancies which they can offer to displaced workers in need of work opportunities.

The Labor department earlier announced its plan to hire additional contact tracers as part of the agency’s emergency employment program.

Applicants for the job fair may access updates through DOLE’s official website www.dole.gov.ph or the agency’s social media pages.

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