Informal sector workers eyed as contact tracers, labor inspectors

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    WORKERS in the informal sector may be hired as contact tracers as well as labor inspectors if the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is able to revive its emergency employment program amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

    In a press briefing, Labor Undersecretary Joji Aragon said the department is  looking to implement an improved Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.

    “The activities under a new TUPAD will be relevant to efforts on how we can defeat COVID-19,” said Aragon.

    Among jobs eyed by DOLE are as contact tracers, data encoders, and occupational safety and health (OSH) inspectors.

    During the earlier phase of the pandemic, DOLE implemented a TUPAD program wherein informal sector workers were hired to engage in disinfection/sanitation activities.

    Aragon said contact tracers and data encoders can help in identifying COVID-19 patients as well as their close contacts while OSH inspectors can help ensure business establishments are complying with DOLE’s safety guidelines in reopening the economy.

    “We want this (TUPAD) to be more relevant that while we assist and provide relief to informal sector workers, we also want to help in the recovery phase by having more relevant activities,” said Aragon.

    Aragon said the fate of a revived TUPAD depends largely on the passage of the “Bayanihan to Recover as One” (Bayanihan 2) Act.

    “Under Bayanihan 2, we are hopeful that the programs we have proposed will be approved,” Aragon said.

    The Senate on Tuesday passed the measure on third and final reading. Under the Senate version, a P15-billion budget is being proposed for DOLE’s cash-for-work program.

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