Villanueva: Workers, small biz owners stand to benefit from proposed P8,000 wage subsidy program
Senator Joel Villanueva expressed support to the proposed P8,000-wage subsidy program for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help business owners retain their workers while economic activity gradually restarts with the easing of quarantine measures nationwide.
In a statement, Villanueva said the proposal was a way to “diversify the government’s ayuda program” to assist MSMEs, one of the hardest-hit sectors in the country as the COVID-19 pandemic forced business operations to grind to a halt to prevent the spread of the virus.
“I support it because we have to diversify our ayuda program. The conventional track is to aid workers who have lost their jobs. This one helps workers from losing theirs. We have to invest more in payroll retention and job protection programs that help both employers and workers,” Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, said in a statement.
“PSA data shows that our MSMEs are 99.5% of all registered business enterprises in the country, and they are responsible for 62.4% of the country’s total employment. When we aid a struggling MSME, our subsidy cascades down to the workers who will be able to keep their paycheck because we have helped avert a shutdown,” Villanueva noted.
The lawmaker said that pursuing the program would also help the government finance its operations through the taxes generated from the economic activity from MSMEs.
"I support it because we have to diversify our ayuda program. The conventional track is to aid workers who have lost their jobs. This one helps workers from losing theirs. We have to invest more in payroll retention and job protection programs that help both employers and workers."
“Our government should not come in only after an employee has become unemployed. It should proactively intervene so that companies employing workers would remain open and their jobs secure,” Villanueva stated.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez unveiled the proposal during the job summit of the Task Group on Economic Recovery-National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) on Saturday. The official explained that the proposed P24-billion wage subsidy program seeks to grant workers in MSMEs an P8,000 wage subsidy per month for a maximum of three months.
For his part, Villanueva said he would study the proposal, particularly on sourcing the funds needed to make this program a reality.
“We'll look into this proposal, which is a part of our National Employment Recovery Strategy, so that we in the Senate could also do our part and study potential funding sources for this important program to help MSMEs retain jobs,” the lawmaker said.