MANILA - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has suspended its flagship program in three districts in Quezon City amid allegations that some officials allegedly pocketed the majority of the salaries of its beneficiaries.
The program Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers (TUPAD), which aims to provide emergency employment for displaced workers for 10 days and pay them minimum wage, reportedly came up short for the beneficiaries.
The alleged irregularities happened in Quezon City's Districts 1, 2 and 5 where instead of receiving P7,518 each, some beneficiaries claimed they were only given P2,000.
A coordinator of TUPAD said she was instructed to accompany the beneficiaries to a remittance center and deduct P5,518 from their cash assistance.
“Allegedly mga tao ng mga kongresista o barangay captain sa distrito na 'yan,” Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello III said on Monday.
He explained that while the salaries of the beneficiaries go directly to them, somehow they are made to believe that they have to surrender their salaries to some people once they have withdrawn their money.
“Ang sweldo ng ating mga beneficiaries ay diretso na pumupunta sa kanila kasi we send their salaries thru a remittance center,” Bello said.
“Sa sobrang tinik ng mga scammer na iyan, ang nangyayari, after makuha ng mga beneficiary natin ang pera, inaabot pa nila sa tao ang pera na dapat sa kanila.”
DOLE plans to coordinate with the Quezon City LGU to investigate the allegations, and vows to file administrative and criminal charges once the involved personalities are identified.
The city government, meanwhile, has expressed full support for DOLE's probe on the alleged irregularities in the agency’s distribution of benefits under TUPAD.
“Kung kumpirmado, nakalulungkot ang pangyayaring ito dahil marami sa ating mga residente ang nawalan ng karampatang benepisyo na malaki sana ang maitutulong ngayong panahon ng pandemya,” Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said.