Press Release
April 19, 2020

Bong Go lauds approval of small business wage subsidy program for MSME employees, middle class amid COVID-19 health crisis

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go lauded on Sunday, April 19, the positive response of the Executive Branch to numerous appeals for more support to the middle class amid the ongoing crisis caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.

The government will soon release the approved guidelines for the implementation of the small businesses wage subsidy (SBWS) program to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) cope with, support the middle class and mitigate the adverse effects on the economy caused by the COVID-19 health emergency.

"Malaking bahagi ng ating ekonomiya ang mga MSMEs, at habang tumatagal ang COVID-19 situation sa bansa, kailangan ding suportahan ng ating gobyerno ang kanilang kapakanan para buhayin ang maliliit na negosyo at maiahon ang mga empleyado nila mula sa krisis na ito," Go said.

"Ngayong aprubado na ang panukala ng Department of Finance para sa small business wage subsidy (SBWS), sisiguraduhin natin na lahat ng Pilipinong apektado ay matutulungan sa abot ng ating makakaya at mapangalagaan natin ang ating ekonomiya kahit nasa gitna tayo ng krisis," he added.

Go also noted that with the assistance that will be provided to MSMEs, owners can, in turn, help their employees who are mostly from the lower middle class, especially with the extension of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and in many parts of the country.

Through the SBWS, the DOF will set the guidelines and determine MSMEs nationwide which are eligible for the subsidy. Each eligible worker belonging to the low- to medium-middle class under the identified affected business will be provided with a wage subsidy between P5,000 to P8,000. According to the DOF, the subsidy will run for two months, unless the enhanced community quarantine is lifted earlier. The program will benefit over 3.4 million workers and will cost P51 billion.

Employers will be submitting applications on behalf of their respective employees. According to DOF, the Social Security System will be accepting applications until April 30, 2020.

In order to be qualified for the program, small businesses should "maintain the employment status of all eligible beneficiaries before the ECQ and throughout the SBWS period" and that "employees cannot resign during the ECQ period," according to program description posted on DOF's website.

Go, who also sits as a member of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee monitoring the progress of the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, has previously cited the need to push the SBWS to support MSME employees.

In previous statements, Go said, "Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa ating finance agencies dahil dininig nila ang ating apela na suportahan ang mga MSMEs. Tulungan natin ang mga ito na buhayin ang kanilang negosyo dahil sila rin ang bubuhay sa ating ekonomiya lalo na kapag natapos na ang krisis na ito,"

"Importante ang suporta na ito para mapagaan ang pinapasan ng mga negosyo at ng mga empleyado nila. Kung gusto nating mas mabilis manumbalik ang sigla ng ating ekonomiya, mas mainam na ngayon pa lang ay tulungan na natin ang maliliit na negosyante na makabangon," he added.

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