The labor department’s flagship program TUPAD will continue to be available to displaced and disadvantaged workers in the informal sector, including the youth, even throughout the election period, it was announced Wednesday.

This after the Commission on Elections granted the request of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for the exemption of five DOLE programs from the activities prohibited during the election period.

Director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla of the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) said that aside from the popular Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced workers program, four other DOLE programs were exempted by the poll body.

“We have applied for the said exemption on January 18, 2022 and was issued an approval on February 10, 2022, signed and approved by COMELEC Acting Chairperson Socorro Inting. With this exemption, we will continue to implement the flagship programs of the department, especially our TUPAD even this election period,” Trayvilla said.

Trayvilla said that aside from TUPAD, the exempted DOLE programs enumerated in the COMELEC resolution are the Government Internship Program (GIP); JobStart Philippines Program (JSP); Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES); and the DOLE Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program (CLPEP).

The resolution noted that Bello has highlighted the said DOLE programs to be exempted from the ban as they are demand-driven and have continuously served the marginalized, vulnerable, and under-privileged beneficiaries/ workers for decades.

It also specified the approval of the targeted number of beneficiaries for each DOLE program such as the hiring of a total of 18,888 young workers for the GIP; 1,000 youth beneficiaries for the JSP; 75,758 for SPES; 29,613 poor, vulnerable, and marginalized workers for the DILP; 585,074 up to 4,736,681 displaced, underemployed and seasonal workers for its TUPAD, DILP.

“The services and programs of the department will continue to benefit our kababayans even during the election period. We still have various packages that will be provided to our beneficiaries such as bigasan and other livelihood assistance, our JobStart skills training, and other assets set for our child labor elimination program,” Trayvilla said.

Trayvilla meantime reminded local government units (LGUs) to inhibit associating the programs and services of the department, especially the TUPAD project, on their respective campaigns.

“We would like to remind our partner LGUs on the proper use of the TUPAD name. We advocate for its integrity because TUPAD is a service mark of DOLE. We have been issued with a copy of registration from the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) so we have a legal protection for TUPAD,” she added. #