Empower workers, MSMEs to help revive economy – Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — The latest suggestions given on Monday by Vice President Leni Robredo for the government’s COVID-19 response centered on pushing the economy forward during the COVID-19 pandemic by empowering workers and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Robredo laid out 11 pointers, some of which she had already mentioned in previous speeches, during her address as the country chalked up more than 194,00 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the largest in Southeast Asia.
In summary, Robredo touched on the following topics:
- helping medical frontliners and hospitals, quicker test result turnover, more efficient data gathering and stringent contact tracing
- tapping technology in contact tracing, while hiring more contact tracers in a work-for-pay scheme
- creating and ensuring safety nets for people affected by unemployment
- empowering businesses and industries by shifting their production to items needed during the pandemic
- helping MSMEs have an online presence so they could do online transactions to minimize risks of coronavirus transmissions
- providing aid for MSMEs so that they can resume operations and prevent layoffs
- putting in place reintegration and livelihood programs for returning OFWs who lost jobs to due to pandemic
- preventing the spread of hunger by giving monthly subsidies to poorest families
- ensuring that the food supply would be efficient by helping the agriculture sector
- taking the pandemic as an opportunity to level income inequality by raising the salaries of workers in essential sectors
- improving the country’s digital infrastructure, especially as classes shift to distance learning
From this list, Robredo has previously mentioned about making health workers feel better and appreciated for their efforts during the health crisis, prioritizing local producers of personal protective equipment (PPEs), doing contact tracing faster and creating a single data, and crafting measures like the resumption of public transportation to curb economic downturn.
Robredo has also spoken about ensuring that students could attend online classes by giving them access to gadgets and internet connectivity through at least one internet hub in every barangay.
Despite the numerous problems that the country is facing, Robredo remains optimistic that the country can recover from the pandemic even if no strong leadership emerges from the government — which she said earlier lacked direction.
She also noted that a lot of countries leading the fight against the health crisis were already getting nearer towards resuming normal activities, which should be the case for the Philippines if the people would unite.
“Kaya din natin ito. Kinakaya na dapat natin ito. Napakahaba ng kasaysayan natin ng tagumpay laban sa mga hamon na tulad nito. Maaaring may mga pagkakataon na nakalimutan natin kung sino tayo. Ngayon, ipinapaalala ng isa na namang hamon. At idinidiin ko, kung sino talaga ang Pilipino: Bukas at matibay ang loob. Maparaan. Laging iniintindi ang kapwa, lalo na sa panahon ng kagipitan,” Robredo said.
[We can do this. We should be able to do this. We already have a very long history of being victorious over challenges like this. There may be times when we forget who we are. Now, another challenge is reminding us who we are. And I’m stressing what Filipino really are: Open and lionhearted. Resourceful. Always concerned about others, especially during hard times.]
“At kung walang mamumuno, tayo mismo ang hahakbang, tayo mismo ang magtutulungan, tayo mismo ang bibitbit sa isa’t isa. Tayo mismo ang haharap, tayo mismo ang mangunguna, gagampanan natin ang anumang tungkulin para daigin ang anumang pagsubok, sa ngalan ng ating kapwa,” she added.
[And if nobody will lead, we ourselves will take steps. We will help each other. We will support each other. We ourselves will face, we ourselves will lead, we ourselves will assume any duty to overcome any challenge in the name of our fellowmen.]
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