DOLE-9: Cash-for-work funds not election money

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The funds used in the implementation of the cash-for-work “Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program of the government are not election money.

Lawyer Roy Buenafe, Regional Director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the Zamboanga Peninsula (DOLE-9), made this clear Friday in a press conference here, saying TUPAD “is an all-year-round program” of their agency.

TUPAD is a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers.

“This program will continue even after the election, therefore this (TUPAD funds) is not election money. This is a program of the government to help ease the hardship of our compatriots),” he said.

Buenafe issued the statement after local politicians have been seen assisting in the distribution of payouts to TUPAD recipients. “The politicians only help us in identifying beneficiaries of the program in the community. That is only our partnership with them,” he added.

Buenafe clarified that “other than that, we don’t allow anyone to use our program for their interest, especially during this election season.” He, however, they cannot also disperse the program beneficiaries after the payout amid the presence of some politicians in the venue.

“We don’t have control over them if they want to listen to the speech of politicians after the payout,” he pointed out.