TUBA, Benguet – Benguet caretaker congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap is currently working out the allocation of some P30 million from the labor department’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay Para sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program for future distribution to the heavily impacted pocket mining industry provincewide in the coming months.
Yap, who chairs the powerful House committee on appropriations, stated that from the previous practice of identifying the beneficiaries of the aforesaid program per barangay, the same was partially adjusted to cater to the similar needs of vulnerable and marginalized sectors who were affected not only by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but also the temporary suspension of small-scale mining in the Cordillera by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu over two years ago.
Yap visited some small-scale mining sites in Itogon and Mankayan to consult with leaders of small-scale mining associations to solicit their inputs on strategies to convince environment officials to lift the existing ban on pocket mining and the assistance that could be immediately provided by concerned government agencies to their heavily impacted members.
The lawmaker pointed out there were members of vulnerable and marginalized sectors who sought assistance from the Benguet Congressional District Office for which he coordinated for assistance from concerned government agencies.
Earlier, Congressman Yap included heavily impacted farmers as potential beneficiaries of the social welfare department’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) with some 387 farmers in each of the 13 municipalities identified as the recipients.
According to him, various assistance to the qualified beneficiaries from the different parts of the province will be distributed to the recipients throughout the year and the coming year as funds for the said programs were already included in the annual budget of the concerned government agencies.
Aside from the farmers, the youth and the pocket miners, the lawmaker claimed that his office is also setting its sights to the members of the transport sector as potential beneficiaries of the government’s financial assistance program.
The caretaker congressman stipulated that for the remaining part of the year, there will be scheduled distribution of financial assistance by concerned government agencies to the identified recipients as part of the government’s ongoing effort to reach out to beneficiaries to mitigate the effects of the pandemic to their economic activities and sources of livelihood.