Solon seeks P13.7-B to help distressed employers with 13th month payment
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is seeking a P13.7 billion subsidy for distressed employers to help them pay the 13th-month pay or Christmas bonus of their workers and employees.
Under House Resolution No. 1310, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez noted that employers in the micro, small, and medium-scale (MSME) business sector, in particular, are in need of assistance.
Rodriguez said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III estimates that P5 billion to P13.7 billion would be needed to subsidize distressed MSME employers so they could pay the Christmas bonus of thier workers.
The lawmaker said that due to the pandemic, many employers “are suffering losses and do not have the funds to pay the mandatory 13th-month pay even if they are willing to do so.”
“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,” Rodriguez said in the resolution.
“Our workers in the micro, small and medium enterprises have suffered so much since March 15 from layoffs or reduced working days up to now, and it will be cruel to deny Christmas to them by not giving their 13th-month pay,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez said that in the case of workers, millions have lost their jobs, while those who remain employed now find it very difficult to make both ends meet.
Citing data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Rodriguez said between 1.5 million and 5.1 million small and medium enterprise workers have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
In Cagayan de Oro alone, more than 16,000 workers have been laid off because of COVID-19, said Rodriguez.
“2020 has been a very bad year for most Filipinos because of COVID-19 and its effects on their health, employment, and income,” Rodriguez said.
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