By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has temporarily suspended the implementation of its Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program in the Second District of Quezon City as the agency probes allegations of irregularities in the manner of payout distribution.
Beneficiaries of the TUPAD program yesterday (September 2) stormed at the barangay hall of Holy Spirit to complain about the alleged “illegal slashing” of their salaries by a certain Jacquilyn Sales, coordinator of Congresswoman Precious Hipolito-Castelo.
“Nakarating na sa akin ‘yun at pinaimbestiga ko na. For the meantime pina-hold ko ‘yung implementation ng TUPAD from District 2, Quezon City (The matter already reached my knowledge and I already ordered its investigation. For the meantime, I also hold the implementation of TUPAD from District 2, Quezon City),” DOLE Sec. Silvestre Bello said in an interview with Maharlika TV Network (MTVN) during a DOLE event in Lucena City today (September 3).
The DOLE chief said that if allegations were proven true the Office of Congresswoman Castelo may be held liable for qualified theft or estafa.
“May liability sila that is ano eh, either theft, qualified theft or estafa (They have liability. That is either qualified theft or estafa),” Bello added.
Yesterday, TUPAD beneficiaries led by a member of Barangay Health and Emergency Response Team (BHERT) Carol Cal, said they were victims of corruption when Sales cut their salaries from a total of P7,518 to only P2,000.
“Tinext po kami ng Palawan [Express] na may makukuha kaming pera na nagkakahalaga ng P7,518 na ang P2,000 doon ay mapupunta sa nakapangalan doon na may mga ID (We received a text message from Palawan Express saying that we can now get our salaries amounting to P7,518 but the only amount that the actual beneficiaries, who have their official DOLE-TUPAD IDs, can only take P2,000),” Cal stated during her interview with another station.
She said she was instructed to slash a total of P5,518 from each beneficiary so that the Office of Congresswoman Castelo would be able to pay what they claimed as other volunteers.
“Kukunin po ang P5,518 na sobra doon sa pera na yun para ibigay naman po kay ma’am Jackie Sales dahil ibabayad din daw nila sa nagwawalis na sinasabi doon sa opisina po ni Cong. Precious (The P5,518 will be deducted from the actual amount and we were directed to give it to ma’am Jackie Sales because they will utilize it as payment to actual street sweepers from the Office of Cong. Precious),” Cal added.
Cal further stated that more than P198,000 was forwarded to Castelo’s coordinator. The said amount was for more or less 1,000 beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, the Quezon City government made it clear that the above-mentioned issue has nothing to do with them.
As per Public Employment Service Office (QC-PESO) chief Rogelio “Batoy” Reyes, the only TUPAD Program being implemented by the Quezon City government in partnership with PESO, CESU, DOLE and DILG-QC is for the services of contact tracers. (AI/MTVN)