By CHINO S. LEYCO
Payouts to workers for small businesses affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) under the Department of Finance-led (DOF) wage subsidy program are nearly completed.
In a statement, Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Joselito G. Lambino II said that both tranches of the two-month small business wage subsidy (SBWS) program registered are more than 97-percent completed as of June 11.
“For the first tranche, 3.05 million, or 98.8 percent of the 3.09 million qualified beneficiaries, have their SBWS ready for withdrawal from their bank or PayMaya accounts or for pick up from MLhuillier Kwarta Padala outlets,” Lambino said.
“The remaining employees – around 40,000–are awaiting confirmation or requiring correction of their bank account numbers or cellphone numbers (for those who chose to receive their subsidy through PayMaya or MLhuillier),” he added.
For the second tranche, Lambino said that 2.96 million, or 97.4 percent of beneficiaries, have their SBWS ready for withdrawal or pickup.
“This means that more than P44 billion-worth of subsidies for two months have been credited directly to the SBWS program’s intended beneficiaries in less than two months,” Lambino said.
“What has allowed the government to quickly distribute the aid relatively smoothly was the use of automated processing and digital technologies in running the program,” the finance official pointed out.
Lambino explained that, by design, the SBWS program is largely automated and digital, with manual processing kept to a minimum.
He said the government took advantage of available technologies, cloud computing, and the electronic databases of Social Security System (SSS) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to hasten the releases of its subsidies.
“The implementing agencies have been able to accurately target intended beneficiaries and quickly distribute the subsidy to millions of employees with zero face-to-face contact between the beneficiaries and government,” Lambino said.
Each qualified worker is entitled to receive P5,000 to 8,000 monthly for two months under the SBWS program, which is jointly implemented by the DOF, BIR and SSS.
The SBWS supports qualified employees of small businesses who did not get paid for at least two months due to the work stoppages during the ECQ and other containment measures imposed by the governments since mid-March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
SBWS subsidies are either credited directly to the beneficiaries’ chosen banks or PayMaya e-wallet accounts or sent through cash remittance via MLhuillier Kwarta Padala.