By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — The Department of Labor and Employment-National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) has started validating complaints of recipients over purported “illegal slashing” of their pay in the agency’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program in Quezon City’s District 2.
Acting on a directive by DOLE Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III, DOLE-NCR chief Atty. Jam Malinao, visited Brgy. Holy Spirit in District 2, Quezon City today (September 6) to evaluate complaints of huge pay slash amounting at least P5,000 as alleged by TUPAD beneficiaries in the District.
“[Nandito po kami para kunin ang inyong] salaysay na naglalayon na makakuha ng impormasyon, sapat na impormasyon para mai-submit [sa] mahal na kalihim Secretary Bello (We are here to get your statement which aims to get information, enough information that we can submit to our beloved Secretary Bello),” DOLE supervising labor and employment officer (LEO) Rey Sanglay explained to the first 50 complainants who went to the barangay hall to file their complaints.
Sanglay said the data that will be gathered from this fact-finding and complaint collection will be submitted to the DOLE Central Office for a more thorough investigation.
According to Brgy. Holy Spirit Chairman Chito Valmocina, the illegal operations of this TUPAD syndicate, allegedly perpetrated by a couple who both have a combined term of office in Congress for almost 12 years, has been operating since 2015.
He said the victims, particularly barangay volunteers, were afraid to expose the above-mentioned illegal activities because coordinators of former congressman now Councilor Winnie Castelo and his wife incumbent Congresswoman Precious Hipolito Castelo harassed and blackmailed them that they will be reported to their barangay chairman.
“Itong mga ito n’ung kausapin ko ang akala ka-split ako… Kako anong kinalaman ko d’yan? Kaya kako ibulgar na natin ‘yan dahil ang iniisip pala ng tao kaya nangyayari rito kasama ako. Pasabugin na natin ito dahil wala talaga akong kinalaman (These people, when I talked to them, thought I was among the conspirators. I said, it has nothing to do with me. That’s why we must expose it because people think that I am part of it. We must whistleblow this because I am not part of the conspiracy),” Valmocina told his staff and volunteers.
The barangay chairman said around 750 beneficiaries are willing to file a complaint in his barangay alone, another group of complainants will be coming from Barangay Batasan Hills.
As per their agreement with DOLE, they will cater at least 50 complainants a day until the 750 victims will be completed.
Valmocina estimated a total of P59-million of state funds were saved after Bello held the implementation of TUPAD in District 2, while P50 to P60 million was already released from the government buffers. (AI/MTVN)