LGUs may recruit TUPAD workers as contact tracers – Bello

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021   •   200

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.

DTI: Halos 200-libong manggagawa, balik-trabaho sa ilalim ng GCQ

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Maaari nang makabalik sa trabaho ang nasa 200-libong empleyado matapos na ibalik sa general community quarantine “with heightened restrictions” ang National Capital Region (NCR) at mga karatig-lalawigan.

Ayon kay Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, magiging daan ang paglipat sa GCQ ng NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, at Laguna – tinatawag na NCR Plus – upang mapababa ang bilang ng mga nawalan ng trabaho noong kasagsagan ng enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“As we further open the economy, we are expecting to bring back 200,000 to 300,000 jobs to lessen the number workers displaced since the start of the ECQ,” ani Lopez.

Noong nasa ilalim ng ECQ ang NCR Plus, umabot sa 1.5 milyon ang bilang ng mga Pilipino nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa coronavirus pandemic.

Nabawasan ito at naging isang milyon noong ipinatupad ang modified ECQ.

Ayon kay Lopez, sa ngayon ay aabot pa sa 700-libong manggagawa ang hindi pa rin nakakabalik sa trabaho dahil sa limitadong operasyon ng ilang establisimyento gaya ng mga restaurant, at barbershop. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

DOH says no to proposed vaccine pass for access to indoor establishments

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it is not recommending the proposal to use a “vaccine pass” that would allow persons already inoculated against COVID-19 to have access to business establishments.

“Hindi po kami sang-ayon sa ganyang pagpapalakad o kaya ay magkaron tayo ng mga ganyang proseso,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergere said in a virtual press briefing.

Vergeire said the DOH is not in favor of the proposal as there is no sufficient evidence yet to say that a person who has already received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine can no longer be infected or spread the virus.

She added that initial studies have shown that the currently available vaccines against coronavirus cannot adequately block the virus.

“Wala pa ho tayong sufficient evidence to say na ang isang taong with complete doses of vaccines already would have that kind of immunity, na hindi na siya magkakaroon ng sakit o makakapanghawa dahil nga po dito sa mga paunang mga ebidensiya na ibinigay sa atin, hindi po nakakapag-block ng transmission adequately ang mga bakuna na mayroon tayo ngayon,” she said.

“As we have said, ang pinaka-assurance o benepisyong nakukuha natin ngayon sa vaccines is reducing severe infections and hospitalization. As to preventing mild to moderate infections, hindi pa rin po tayo nagbibigay ng ganyang assurance sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.

Vergeire also reminded the public, especially those who have completed the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, to still observe health protocols against COVID-19.

“Even if you are fully vaccinated, meaning you have completed two doses, kailangan pa rin natin magpatupad ng minimum health protocols,” she said.

“Itong sinasabing vaccine pass ay hindi pa rin mairerekomenda ng Kagawaran ng Kalusugan,” she added.

IATF allows TESDA to hold in-person assessments for household service workers in MECQ areas

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s task force for COVID-19 response has allowed the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to conduct face-to-face assessments for household service workers in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), Malacañang said Friday.

However, the conduct of the activity is subject to conditions, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque said in-person assessments shall be held only in TESDA Training Institutions and will remain prohibited in private assessment centers.

The activity will also be limited to household service workers who are ready for deployment and have already secured contracts and visas.

“Applicants must further abide by TESDA guidelines relative to the conduct of in-person assessments,” Roque said.

The Palace official likewise announced that the IATF has also allowed the resumption of Career Executive Service Written Examinations and Assessment Centers by the Career Executive Service Board, subject to health and safety protocols and the strict observance of the minimum public health standards.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved this policy in a meeting on Thursday, May 13.

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