Photo shows DOLE-IPS Director Rolly Francia (left) and Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III (right) during Monday’s “V-Cafe @ DOLE” airing
By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III has announced on Monday (September 6) the suspension of TUPAD program implementation in two other districts in Quezon City due to unscrupulous activities from what he claimed to be “scammers.”
Bello said during the regular virtual press briefing “V-Cafe @ DOLE”, he ordered the suspension after receiving reports that it is not only the second district beneficiaries who are victims of extortion but also residents from the first and fifth districts.
“I immediately ordered the suspension of the implementation of the TUPAD program in the second district of Quezon City, including na rin, kasi marami rin akong natatanggap na parehas na reklamo ‘yung District 1 at saka District 5 din (I immediately ordered the suspension of the implementation of the TUPAD program in the second district of Quezon City, including District 1 and District 5 because I also received similar complaints),” Bello said.
It was remembered that last week, reports about a certain Jackie Sales, coordinator of Congresswoman Precious Hipolito Castelo, “illegally cut” the salaries of TUPAD beneficiaries in District 2, Quezon City.
The modus operandi, as narrated by complainants, is that when beneficiaries collect their salaries through money transfer, the coordinators are also in the area to get a total of P5,000 from each of them, allegedly to be shared with other people in need.
Bello said he also directed undersecretary Atty. Ana C. Dione and National Capital Region (NCR) regional director Atty. Sarah Buena S. Mirasol of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to coordinate with QC Mayor Joy Belmonte and inform her about this directive of suspension.
“Kawawa naman (ang beneficiaries) kung totoo nga itong mga nakakarating sa ating report na sa halip na ‘yung pera napupunta sa ating beneficiary ay napupunta sa mga tao na allegedly na tao ng mga kongresista, barangay captain ng mga distrito na ‘yan (It’s a pity [for our beneficiaries] if reports that reached us are true. The money which is supposedly for our beneficiaries ended up in the hands of people who are allegedly connected to congressmen and barangay captains of the said districts),” Bello pointed out.
The Labor chief also called on all the TUPAD beneficiaries not to believe in scammers who only want to get kickbacks from them.
“Pakinggan niyo po ako mga kababayan ko d’yan sa Quezon City District 1, District 2, District 5, ‘pag nakuha niyo na ‘yung suweldo niyo, suweldo niyo na ‘yan, pera niyo na ‘yan na pinaghirapan niyo ng 10 araw kaya dapat wala dapat ibang makinabang kung hindi kayo. Pakiusap ko sa inyo huwag kayo maniwala sa mga bolada o pandaraya (To my fellow countrymen in District 1, District 2, District 5 in Quezon City. Once you get your salary, it’s your salary, you work hard for it in 10 days so nobody deserves to have that money but you. Please don’t be fooled by lies or fraud),” Bello emphasized.
Bello also extended his apologies to beneficiaries and to the local government of Quezon City for the suspension saying that the Department must make sure the money from DOLE goes to the right people.
TUPAD or Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program is an emergency employment initiative of the government for workers who lost their jobs and other means of livelihood.
A total of P59 million worth of salaries will be put on hold while investigation on the alleged anomaly is still ongoing. (ai/mtvn)