Over 50 MSMEs send temporary closure notice to DOLE
MANILA, Philippines – More than 50 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with around 190,000 employees have submitted a temporary closure notice to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) due to the adverse impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Friday.
The MSMEs, Bello said, initially wanted to only implement flexible work arrangements for their employees. He said the notices for temporary closure were submitted to DOLE on Thursday.
“Nagpadala sila ng notice na instead na (They sent notices that instead of) flexible work arrangement, they decided to temporarily close operations… Mga 190,000 [employees] ‘yan (That’s around 190,000 employees),” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
A Senate data dated March 2012, however, showed that based on the number of employees, a business is identified as micro if it has one to nine employees; small if it has 10 to 99 employees, and medium if it has 100-199 employees.
Bello said that the estimated 190,000 employees who could be affected by the temporary closure of these MSMEs are not yet included in the 2.6 million employees whom DOLE earlier reported to have been displaced permanently or temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The labor secretary added that DOLE will review the notices sent by these MSMEs.
He also assured that DOLE is trying to come up with measures to preserve jobs amid the health crisis.
“’Yun ang aming pinaka-problema, pinaka-nightmare namin ngayon—how to protect employees at all costs, na walang employee na mawalan ng trabaho (That’s our main problem and worst nightmare now—how to protect employees at all costs, that no employee will lose a job),” he said.
He said he also promised to construction industry leaders that he will ask the Department of Public Works and Highways to pursue the rest of the infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program to boost the construction industry.
He added that he also asked leaders of construction companies to hire 10 to 20 percent additional workers from their existing workers for these infrastructure projects
Bello earlier said that DOLE estimates around four to five million Filipinos might be unemployed due to the coronavirus crisis.
He also appealed to business owners to scale down operations and implement flexible working arrangements instead of closing to prevent further displacement of more workers.
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