DOLE main office suspends ops as exec contracts Covid-19

MANILA – The central office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Intramuros, Manila has suspended its operations on Friday after a top official and several employees have tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a statement, the department said they continue to pray for the immediate recovery of one of its undersecretaries as well as the staff members of the office.

“We are praying for the early recovery of our Undersecretary who got infected with the virus. We also pray that the staff members in the office of the Undersecretary will overcome the health situation,” it added, without naming the official.

This is not the first time when work has been suspended in the agency after some employees have tested positive for the virus.

It reported that thorough disinfection has been conducted as they expect to resume operations next week.

“After a thorough disinfection of the DOLE offices is done, normal operations will resume on Monday,” the DOLE added.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Friday led the payment of wages of Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) of close to a thousand beneficiaries in Tarlac City.

A total of PHP3.38 million was released by the DOLE to 803 beneficiaries of the program meant to provide temporary wage employment to workers who lost their jobs amid the global health crisis.

Bello said the payment of the wages is in compliance with the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately release all the financial aid of the government for workers displaced by the pandemic.

Earlier, the President gave the Department until this month to fully release the more than PHP16 billion allotment of the government for workers’ aid.

“The truth is I am just following the President’s instruction not to hold the benefits of the workers. He wanted me to release the aid right away so here I am doing exactly what he desired,” Bello said in a statement.

For her part, Tarlac Governor Susan Yap lauded the DOLE chief for bringing TUPAD in the province, adding that the program will give workers in Tarlac a merry Christmas.

“Our Secretary of Labor has made a lot of promises to Tarlac and have fulfilled all of them including the implementation of TUPAD for our workers,” she said. (PNA)

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