Aside from claiming many lives, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about drastic impact to the country especially on socio-economic and health aspects.

The National Capital Region (NCR), being the country’s main hub of the service industry, was hardly-hit by the wrath of the pandemic. Left and right, establishments that used to prosper closed its doors leading to increased unemployment in the region.

Such was the fate of the majority of the 255 workers who are now hired for a 10-day emergency employment starting February 18, 2022 in Caloocan City. Among whom is Marilyn De Guzman, a 47-year old mother of four (4) who was a saleslady from a well-known shopping mall located in North of EDSA, but was displaced because of the pandemic.

“Noong nawalan po ako ng trabaho, hindi po namin alam ng asawa ko kung paano namin matutugunan ang pang-araw-araw na gastusin hanggang sa nagtinda po ako ng frozen meat products para may pangdagdag sa gastusin pero salat pa rin po,” shared De Guzman.

De Guzman said that she will use the salary from the program to add more variants to her already existing frozen meat products store with hopes of increasing profit.

“Nabuhayan po ako ng loob nang malaman kong kasama ako sa mga mabibigyan ng trabaho sa pamamagitan ng TUPAD. Maraming salamat po sa mga kawani ng gobyerno lalo na sa DOLE. Marami po kayong natutulungang mga nawalan ng hanapbuhay sa pamamagitan ng TUPAD,” added De Guzman.

TUPAD or the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged / Displaced Workers is the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) cash-for-work program that provides emergency employment for the displaced, underemployed and seasonal workers. Beneficiaries are tasked to work for a minimum period of 10 working days, but not exceeding the maximum of 30 days, depending on the nature of work to be performed.

Aside from the pre-employment seminar, the newly-hired TUPAD beneficiaries received their IDs, face masks, shirts, and other appropriate Physical Protective Equipment (PPE). Said individuals were also enrolled to the GSIS Personal Accident Insurance (GPAI) before their actual work as an additional benefit on top of the salary that they will receive.

In one of his recorded speech, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said: “Makakaasa kayo na higit pang bilang ng mga mangagagawa sa loob at labas ng bansa ang matutulungan ng ating gobyerno. Ito ay dahil laging handa ang DOLE para sa maaksyong laban sa masamang epekto ng pandemya. Atin lamang pong tandaan na ang tuluyan nating pagbangon ay nakasalalay hindi lamang sa pamahalaan, kung di, sa ating lahat.”

Minimum health protocols such as maintaining physical distance, wearing of face masks, proper sanitation and hygiene were strictly followed during the said activity.

END / by Angelica Fresnoza