The proposed subsidy for micro and small enterprises to cover for the distribution of the 13th month pay may cost up to P13 billion, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said, Friday.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Mr. Bello said there are 5.1 million workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic; but based on the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DoLE) records, there are only 1.3 million.
If the PSA data is used as the basis for computation, the government will have to grant P13.7 billion worth of subsidy and P5 billion if DoLE’s records are used.
“On the basis of that kakailanganin namin, kung sa aming sariling data, a little over P 5 billion, kapag sa based on PSA statistics, we will need P13.7 billion,” Mr. Bello said at an online briefing, Friday. He explained DoLE’s data is based on the notices the department received from employers.
The final figure will be settled upon consultation with the Office of the President and other concerned government agencies, he added.
The proposed subsidy intends to help micro and small enterprises after the Labor department compelled employers to pay employees their 13th month pay on or before Dec. 24, as provided in Presidential Decree No. 851.
Aside from this, Mr. Bello said the department would work on a loan facility that will lend to employers who will not qualify for the subsidy.
“We will encourage the employers to borrow from the banks, especially government banks like Landbank (Land Bank of the Philippines) and DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines),” he said. “We will facilitate a loan facility.”
Mr. Bello on Thursday said the proposal for the subsidy and loan facility will be submitted to the Department of Finance.
This followed the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council meeting on Tuesday to settle discussions on the 13th month pay.
The meeting was attended by Mr. Bello, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, and the Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines. – Charmaine A. Tadalan