Wage subsidies, emergency employment, and business loans will be sustained by the government for workers and small entrepreneurs who may be affected by calamities and pandemics next year.
President Duterte said the proposed 2021 national budget includes ₱27.5 billion for the Department of Labor and Employment’s livelihood and employment programs, ₱2.3 billion for Department of Trade and Industry’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) development program, ₱1.5 billion for the “war chest” to extend financial aid to small businesses, and ₱6.2 billion for the welfare services of overseas Filipino workers.
“The 2021 proposed budget contains provisions for improving systems for social protection programs and income support systems not only through cash transfers,” the President said in his recent budget message to Congress.
“It will also fund programs intended for cash for work, unemployment insurance, emergency employment, and wage subsidies using digitization,” he said.
Under the 2021 budget proposal, Duterte said of the DOLE’s ₱27.5- billion allocation, ₱11.1 billion will support its Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program.
He said around 2.1 million beneficiaries can be covered by the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) Program and Government Internship Program amounting to ₱9.9 billion.
At least ₱810 million will go to DOLE’s Integrated Livelihood Program to help 23,007 beneficiaries.
The government also proposed ₱392 million for the Adjustment Measures Program (AMP) “to mitigate the adverse impacts of the economic crisis, natural and manmade calamities and pandemics such as the COVID-19,” according to the President.
The President said the government will infuse ₱2.3 billion for the MSME (micro small and medium enterprises) Development Program of the Department of Trade and Industry that includes a ₱203 million for its Livelihood Seeding Program-Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay.
Around ₱1.5 billion will set aside for the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso Program to address the cash flow constraints resulting in increased debt, difficulty in covering overhead cost and supply chain interruptions experienced by MSMEs.
Under this program, Duterte said qualified micro enterprises with asset size not exceeding more than ₱3 million can borrow ₱5,000 to ₱200,000.
Small enterprises with assets not more than ₱15 million can avail of credit assistance as much as ₱500,000. For 2021, Duterte said the government targets to help a total of 60,000 MSME borrowers.
“To assist local businesses and MSMEs (micro small and medium enterprises) recover as we recalibrate the opening of the domestic economy, we must ensure that technical assistance and credit is always available to these productive sectors of the economy, especially in the countryside,” Duterte said.
Assistance for OFWs
Around ₱6.2 billion will be allotted to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to provide assistance to OFWs.
Duterte said the allocation will help ensure “the safety of our repatriated unsung heroes from various countries affected by displacement and lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Of this amount, at least ₱3.6 billion will go to the Emergency Repatriation Program to provide airport assistance, temporary shelter, psychosocial counseling, stress debriefing, and transport services to respective provinces of repatriated OFWs.
“This will also cover the estimated 88,000 OFWs to be repatriated in FY 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Duterte said.
At least ₱2.5 billion will be lodged under DOLE’s Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) Program to provide financial assistance to 150,000 affected onsite OFWs and 100,000 repatriated OFWs.
Duterte said ₱100 million will be provided for the cost of service of locally hired paralegals.
The President said these laborrelated programs aimed at “improving income support systems and welfare” of Filipino workers.