Villanueva urges DOLE to use TUPAD members as contact tracer ‘Delta Force’ vs Delta variant

Villanueva urges DOLE to use TUPAD members as contact tracer ‘Delta Force’ vs Delta variant

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Joel Villanueva has appealed to the government to
utilize the P19-billion DOLE-managed employment assistance fund to
finance the additional manpower to expand its contact tracing efforts
as COVID cases steadily rise.

Villanueva said the “Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged o
Displaced Workers” or TUPAD program can be used to deploy a “Delta
Force” that will assist in tracing the contacts and travel histories
of people found positive for COVID-19.

“Yung TUPAD program, pwede pong gamitin sa pagtukoy ng mga
nakasalamuha ng mga taong dinapuan ng virus, saan sila nanggaling, at
saan sila maari pang nakahawa,” the chair of the Senate labor
committee said.

“Lalo na ngayong may Delta variant na po sa bansa at kailangan ng
mala-Delta Force na soldier-frontliner tulad ng mga contact tracers.
We need all the help we can get to stop a surge from overrunning our
frontlines,” he added.

Under the current year’s national budget, TUPAD is appropriated P19
billion together with the Government Internship Program, an item
Villanueva proposed and defended during last year’s debates on the
2021 general appropriations bill.

The program extends emergency employment for displaced workers,
underemployed and seasonal workers in a community.

They will be paid short-term for work in social, economic,
infrastructure and environment projects in their own communities.

“Inaksyonan po natin itong pondo ng TUPAD, lalo na sa panahon ng
pandemya kung saan marami ang nawalan ng trabaho at naghahanap ng
pangtustos sa kanilang mga pamilya,” Villanueva said.

“Siniguro po nating na maitaas ito mulas sa P6 bilyon noong 2020 sa
halos tatlong beses ang taas sa P19 bilyon. I believe this fund can be
tapped to hire more contact tracers. Pasok na pasok po yan sa paggamit
ng pondong iyan,” he added.

“Malalabanan na natin ang COVID-19, makakatulong pa po tayo sa mga
nangangailangan ng trabaho,” he said. (ai/mtvn)

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