‘Start own small businesses as gov’t will lend start-up capital,’ says Roque to displaced workers

The government has encouraged workers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic to consider starting their own small businesses, promising to provide affordable credit facilities.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government has adequate funds to extend loan assistance to budding entrepreneurs.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

"Ineenganyo natin ang lahat ng nawalan ng trabaho na umutang ng kapital para magsimula ng kanilang sariling negosyo. Nagpapautang ang DTI (Department of Trade Industry), ang DA (Department of Agriculture), ang DOF (Department of Finance) (We urge all those who lost their jobs to borrow capital so they can start their own businesses. DTI, DA and DOF are extending financial assistance)," he said during a televised press briefing Tuesday.

"Hindi tayo magkukulang ng sources of funding pati na 'yung mga micro finance institutions whether they be supported by the government or mga private sector (We will not run out of sources of funds as well as those micro finance institutions whether they are supported by the government and the private sector)," he said.

Roque suggested the alternative entrepreneurial career for the jobless after the Asian Development Bank (ADB)and the International Labor Organization (ILO) released a report that over 1 million Filipino youth may lose their jobs due to the pandemic.

The joint report noted that the youth would be hit harder than adults amid the economic and social impact of the public health crisis. An estimated 687,000 to 1.019 million young workers can be jobless if the economy further weakens, according to ADB and ILO.

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey recently showed that adult joblessness in the country reached 45.5 percent or 27.3 million in July. The unemployment figure is higher than 17.5 percent or 9 million jobless adults recorded last December.

To help the unemployed, Roque said the government also offers online courses on skills training and livelihood for the public.

"Pagdating sa re-training and reschooling, nandiyan naman ang TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) at napakadami nilang kurso na ino-offer ngayon maski online dahil alam nila

kinakailangan bigyan ng bagong pagkakataon lalong lalo na yung  mga OFWs na umuuwi at nawalan ng trabaho at kasama na rin diyan ang mga kabataan na nawalan ng trahabo (When it comes to retraining and reschooling, TESDA is offering courses online to give opportunities to displaced OFWs who returned home  as well as the youth who lost their jobs)," he said.

With the further opening up of the economy, Roque also said they hope there will other alternative work opportunities for the displaced workers.

The government has relaxed the lockdown measures in Metro Manila and several provinces in a bid to jumpstart the stalled economy. Testing, tracing and treatment efforts however will be stepped up especially in critical areas with high coronavirus to limit the spread of the disease.

With the general community quarantine in place, he said nearly 75 percent of the industries are now open. He said the impact of the new quarantine restriction will be "minimal."

"Ang hinihingi lang po natin, ingat buhay po para po tayong lahat maghanapbuhay, pero kinakailangan pong maghanapbuhay para po makabangon ang ating ekonomiya at makabangon tayo bilang mga mamamayan (Our appeal is let us take care of our health so we can work. But we must have livelihood so our economy will recover and our nation will recover)," he said.