Government subsidy sought for distressed firms

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) – October 23, 2020 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers yesterday urged the government to provide subsidy for distressed private companies, to enable them to give 13th month pay to their workers.

House Resolution 1310 called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to allocate P13.7 billion as subsidy for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but are still trying to survive.

“The government, specifically the DOLE, should come in to implement a subsidy program and provide funds for qualified and distressed employers, particularly micro, small and medium-scale enterprises,” read the measure filed by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

He said that due to economic difficulties caused by the pandemic, many employers are suffering losses and do not have the funds to pay the mandatory 13th month pay, although they are willing to do so.

“The pandemic has forced scores of businesses to close shop, some temporarily, others permanently,” said.

Rodriguez said the amount of the proposed subsidy was based on estimates submitted to Congress by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, that P5 billion to P13.7 billion would be needed to subsidize distressed MSME employers so they could give the bonus to their personnel.

He cited data from DOLE and the Philippine Statistics Authority showing that between 1.5 million and 5.1 million SME workers have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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