By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Bagong Henerasyon party list Rep. Bernadette Herrera said on Saturday, April 18 that the government’s Small Business Wage Subsidy Program must cover the more than 5.7 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) workers in the country
She made the appeal following reports that the program could only be availed by 3.4 million MSME workers.
“What will happen to the remaining 40 percent or around 2.28 million who will not be given the much needed subsidy?” Herrera asked in a statement.
Herrera, a House deputy majority leader, said the number of the program recipients represents only 60 percent of the 5,714,262 MSME workers counted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), as of 2018.
“The government should do its best to ensure that all of the more than 5.7 million MSME workers will benefit from the wage subsidy program to help them cope with the COVID-19 crisis,” Herrera said.
The House leader earlier batted for the creation of a wage subsidy program that would benefit workers of MSMEs sector which according to her, provides about two-thirds of all formal jobs in the country.
She noted that in 2018, the MSMEs sector created a total of 5,714,262 jobs or 63.19 percent of the country’s total employment.
“The wage subsidy is intended to support and motivate all small business owners to keep their workers employed during the COVID-19 crisis,” Herrera said.
She said limiting the number of the subsidy recipients will leave huge number of MSME workers jobless as their companies could no longer pay for their salaries.
“The wage subsidy is the best we can do to help MSMEs stay afloat amid the uncertainties of this pandemic crisis. The MSMEs must be given the much-needed assistance in exchange for their enormous contribution to the economy,” Herrera said.
She said that based on the latest PSA data, 99.52 percent or 998,342 of the 1,003,111 business enterprises operating across the country are MSMEs, while the remaining 4,769 or 0.48 percent represents the large enterprises.
“Of the total MSME establishments, micro enterprises constitute 88.45 percent (887,272), followed by small enterprises at 10.58 percent (106,175) and medium enterprises at 0.49 percent (4,895),” Herrera noted.