By Leslie Aquino
The Partido Manggagawa on April 15, Wednesday, pushed for a P10,000 wage subsidy for all salaried workers.
The P50 billion subsidy for workers in the small and medium enterprises is, the group said, “too little, too complicated.”
“The wage subsidy to SME workers suffers from the same problems as the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP)—the amount of aid is not enough and [both] are difficult to implement since [these are] targeted and discriminatory,” Rene Magtubo, PM national chair, said in a statement.
“Even the DOLE admits that not all employers have applied for CAMP since some are afraid of being cited for labor standards violations that will be exposed in their payroll. Of those that have applied, large companies are pending since SME’s are the priority. As for SAP, we all know that LGU’s are complaining that the quota given by the national government falls short of the number of poor beneficiaries,” he added.
Magtubo said a universal basic income for all Filipinos is needed to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
“This is the spirit behind the P10,000 subsidy for all formal workers,” he said.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), meantime, expressed hope that President Duterte’s plan to provide P38 billion to P51 billion cash subsidy to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown will retain the jobs of workers and empower minimum wage earners (MWEs).
“We sincerely hope the President’s measure to subsidize COVID-19-affected MSMEs is the right antidote during this pandemic and will be primarily focused on job retention. Government can also include reform conditionality for these SMEs to observe full rights of their employees by observance of having an employee-employer relationship with their members rather than resorting once more to unjust, fixed-term contractual arrangements,” said TUCP president Raymond Mendoza.
“We have heard assurances that this will be for all MWEs. But government officials are somehow qualifying that SME workers will be prioritized. TUCP insists that the subsidy be made to cover all minimum wage workers, regardless of the size of the company, because all MWEs are now on equal footing due to the severity of the crisis. So, let us treat all MWEs equally,” he added.
TUCP is also hoping that the subsidy would help ensure the prices of basic commodities are kept affordable.