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BONTOC, Mountain Province – Concerned local Public Employment Services Officers (PESOs) urged the Cordillera office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to entrust to responsible officers the distribution of financial assistance to the beneficiaries under the government’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay Para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program to prevent this from being used for the personal and political interests of some quarters and avoid the alleged padding of the list of recipients.
Sources, who opted not to be identified, claimed that one of the major issues being raised against the grant of the financial assistance under the said program is that there are recipients that do not allegedly fall under the criteria of the supposed beneficiaries that is casting doubts in the real intention of the said assistance.
While the program is beneficial to the members of the vulnerable and marginalized sectors, the sources claimed that the identification of the beneficiaries should be left with the responsible officers like the PESOs and not to the elected local officials because this will create a negative impression, especially on the part of those who were excluded in the final list to give way for the recommendees of politicians.
The source admitted that based on the list of beneficiaries of the TUPAD which he was able to see, there were recipients who are not supposed to be in the final list that caused some deserving beneficiaries to be excluded despite their evident need for such assistance to cope up with the prevailing difficult situation caused by the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Further, the source suggested that politicians should refrain from attending the distribution of the financial assistance to the beneficiaries to avoid them from using this from being used for their political ambitions as the upcoming May 2022 synchronized national and local elections is near and people may misunderstand their presence.
According to the source, there is no problem if local officials are invited to attend the distribution of financial assistance to the beneficiaries of the said program but prudence dictates that they should not do so because it will be generally interpreted as politicking, thus, it is still best for them to avoid attending such gatherings to give due respect to the legitimate program of government.
He emphasized that in the identification of the beneficiaries, the same should be left with the PESOs who are fully aware of the criteria in the selection of the beneficiaries of the program to avoid political accommodations once elected officials will be allowed to intervene on the matter so that the limited government funds will be used to advance the welfare of the members of the vulnerable and marginalized sectors of the community.
Beneficiaries of the TUPAD program are mandated to work for 15 days in their respective barangays and perform assigned jobs before they will be paid the prevailing minimum daily wage in their places for such work rendered as part of the programs to allow people to earn income during these difficult times. By HENT