Senate bill mandates gov’t to subsidize wages of MSME workers

Published April 30, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Imee R. Marcos has filed a bill that would mandate government to shoulder wages of some five million micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) workers to help them cope with the negative effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Senator Imee Marcos (Senator Imee Marcos Official Facebook Page /  FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Imee Marcos (Senator Imee Marcos Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Marcos said Senate Bill 1431 would direct the national government to pay 75 percent of the payroll of hardest hit industries, to be given direct to affected employees, and at the same time help keep MSMEs afloat.

The bill also seeks to establish an economic recovery package in the hardest hit sectors by COVID-19.

Marcos did not cite any figures in peso terms on how much is needed, but during a media interview, she made an estimate of P63 billion every month, based on a list of five million workers.

“We really need P63 billion every month hoping the crisis will not last long, but I think that is a direct way of helping businesses, and at the same time, getting money into the pocket of employees,” she explained.

The economic protection and recovery package of the Marcos bill shall be under the Office of the President in coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

The economic recovery package for the hardest hit sectors shall be determined by the IATF, in coordination with local government units (LGUs).

The IATF is also mandated to continue to estimate and monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the economy in order to ensure the proper use of funds and thereafter submit a weekly report to Congress.

IATF is also mandated to submit to Congress a long-term plan for building economic resilience, not later than six months after the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The plan shall include a strategy for measuring and monitoring economic resilience and identification of structural reforms needed to increase the ability of the economy to withstand shocks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.