Duterte approves P50.8 B wage subsidy for 3.4 million MSME workers
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the roll out of the P50.8-billion wage subsidy program for micro, small and medium enterpirse (MSME) workers affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
In a virtual press briefing Tuesday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the President approved the Small Business Wage Subsidy Program to help some 1.5 million small businesses in the formal sector and their 3.4 million employees affected by the implementation of the lockdowns imposed to stop the spread of the respiratory illness.
“Ito po ‘yung sagot natin doon sa tinatawag na middle-income workers natin,” Nograles said.
The program is included in Duterte’s third weekly report to Congress on the use of his additional powers to address the health crisis.
Earlier, Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla called on the President to include the “overlooked” middle-class households in the government’s social amelioration program.
Duterte said Remulla’s appeal is valid and ordered his economic team to craft an assistance program for middle-income workers.
The government has set aside P200 billion for its cash emergency subsidy program to be distributed to about 18 million low-income households, half of which has already been disbursed and is currently being distributed.
The wage subsidy program for middle-class workers will be the same as the government’s emergency subsidy program for the 18 million low-income households.
The beneficiaries are also set to receive subsidies of from P5,000 to P8,000 per household monthly for two months, Nograles explained.
The cash aid will be distributed in two tranches from May 1 to 15, and from May 16 to 30, he added.
In a meeting in Malacañang Monday, Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the government will use the data from the Social Security System and the Bureau of Internal Revenue to identify beneficiaries working in MSMEs.
Workers must be employed as of March 1, 2020, and have not received their pay for the corresponding month to avail of the cash aid.
Meanwhile, workers who are on leave or are availing of the SSS unemployment benefits will not be covered by the program.
Recipients of the grant may receive the cash aid through their SSS Unified Multi-Purpose ID cards which also serves as ATM cards, bank accounts, electronic wallets, or remittance centers.
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