Senator Pia Cayetano has proposed the distribution of targeted subsidies for families and individuals who want to start or expand their home-based and micro businesses to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the Senate finance committee hearing on the proposed 2022 budget of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) recently, Cayetano raised that subsidies be given specifically for women and small entrepreneurs.
She noted that women’s work at home and their contribution to the economy have long been recognized as “unpaid work”, which, she said, has become even more pronounced because of the pandemic.
"Many mothers have had to stay home to become 'full time' teachers to their children who are studying from home. Even older sisters and young women with nieces and nephews are tasked to look after the younger children in the household instead of working outside the home," Cayetano, who chairs the Senate Committee on the Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking, said.
“The good news is, the entrepreneurial spirit of Filipinos finds a way to shine,” she said, referring to home-based and online businesses that have been flourishing in the last two years.
"I am sure everyone has a daughter or ‘pamangkin’ or knows of a teen or young adult who has started a business at home during the pandemic. All of us have exchanged these goodies that we bought from these (budding) entrepreneurs who are making all these brownies, cupcakes, everything," she said during the budget hearing.
She, however, cited the situation of women from lower income families who have entrepreneurial skills, but lack access to seed or startup capital.
"Girls that come from the middle or upper economic classes have easier access to capital and have the opportunity to start a business. But those from the lower income group don’t have that kind of access," Cayetano lamented.
"They should have access to capital," she appealed.
Cayetano asked NEDA Secretary Karl Chua to consider the proposition as a "proactive stimulus package".