Robredo bats for stimulus package to help employers with workers’ 13th month pay

Published October 17, 2021, 2:08 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, October 17, asked the government to put up a stimulus package for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in exchange for keeping their employees amid the economic uncertainties during the pandemic.

Vice President Leni Robredo (OVP)

In a visit to Malaybalay, Bukidnon for her office’s feeding program, the vice president stressed the importance of focusing on helping the MSMEs remain open.

“Parati kong ina-advocate sa pamahalaan na mag-put up sila ng stimulus package—hindi utang—stimulus package para sa mga MSMEs para mayroon silang (I am always advocating to the government for them to put up a stimulus package—not loan—stimulus package for MSMEs so they can have the) ability to keep employing their employees, including giving them 13th month (pay),” she said in a media interview.

“So para sana sa akin (for me), conditional na stimulus package. Na bibigyan ka ng (You will be given a)grant as long as you keep your employees para may trabaho iyong employees po. Tapos (so the employees will continue having work. Then) give them the remuneration that they deserve,” Robredo added.

Her statement came after concerns were raised by small business workers about their inability to compensate their employees with a 13th month pay this year due to the pandemic. A 13th month pay is equal to a one-month salary of the employee, and is given during the holiday season.

READ: Workers must get 13th month pay, Palace reminds business owners

But Robredo maintained that it is not enough to give employees a 13th month salary because this will only benefit those who have not lost their jobs.

The presidential aspirant thumbed down low-interest loans because businesses couldn’t even afford to apply for one.

“Walang umuutang (No one is borrowing) because of the uncertainty, eh. Pero kung stimulus package siya na hindi mo kailangang bayaran pero nagpa-promise ka sa pamahalaan (But if it is a stimulus package that you don’t need to pay but you are promising the government) to keep people employed, mas malaking bagay (it is more beneficial),” she said.

Majority of the businesses in the country, Robredo noted, are MSMEs that do not have the capacity to scale up because of their limited resources.

She added that her “position” has always been to help these businesses because Filipinos are losing their jobs since these companies had to close down during the height of the pandemic.