Press Releases
Corona Busters’ in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Get Pay thru DOLE-TUPAD


They are fondly called “corona busters” among townsfolk of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur. They are a group of volunteers who render their service for free, in their aim to contribute in flattening the curve in their beloved municipality – where the first case of COVID-19 in Ilocos Sur was recorded. 
Armed with disinfectant sprayers, these volunteer workers would roam around the town’s streets and puroks to perform disinfection and decontamination. 
“Pagsapit ng alas-tres ng hapon, magiikot na kami sa kanya-kanya naming barangay upang mag-disinfect,” said Ariel Granada, one of the corona busters. “Nagvolunteer kami kasi masaya kaming nakakatulong sa aming bayan at sa mga tao.” 
And it is this noble spirit of volunteerism among informal workers that the Department of Labor and Employment truly takes pride of. Hence, when the DOLE Regional Office 1 (DOLE RO1) learned about the toil of these volunteers, intervention was made pronto. 
The DOLE Ilocos Sur Field Office coordinated with the Local Government of Tagudin thru Mayor Roque Verzosa Jr. and Public Employment Services Office (PESO) Manager Jennifer Agtarap to seal partnership for the DOLE’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay Para sa Ating Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) Program. 
Shortly after, LGU Tagudin became the Accredited Co-Partner for the TUPAD implementation in the town. On June 12, 2021, DOLE RO1 Regional Director Atty. Evelyn Ramos then turned over the amount of P3,400,000 to cover the wages of 1,000 TUPAD workers in the town. 
Hence, through the TUPAD, the 534 corona busters were able to receive compensation from their volunteer work. They, along with 466 other TUPAD workers, rendered community cleanup and disinfection on June 15-24, 2021. Each of them received their wages amounting to P3,400 on June 25, 2021.
Mayor Verzosa believes that the efforts of the corona busters helped reduce the COVID-19 case in the town. “Fortunately, after our first case has recovered, Tagudin attained zero case status for the more than seven months,” he said. 
But the LGU is not letting its guards down, as the threat of the virus persists. “We remain consistent in our sanitation and decontamination activities,” the mayor said, underscoring the role of the corona busters who will now be institutionalized by virtue of Executive Orders in their respective barangays. 
At the height of the pandemic, the corona busters do their ‘mission’ on a daily basis. But when the threat slowly waned off, the volunteers now do their rounds every Wednesday and Friday. 
With or without pay, the corona busters of Tagudin continue with their volunteer work to help curb the effects of the pandemic. They’re here to save their town – and the world – from the virus.  END/Justin Paul D. Marbella and Sherwin Abalos.

RD Evelyn R. Ramos
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