Press Release
October 2, 2020

Villanueva: DOLE should expand targeted assistance for battered MSMEs sector, a key employment generator

Aside from providing access to capital, the country's micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector should also receive further technical assistance to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Senator Joel Villanueva.

At the budget deliberations of the labor department on Thursday afternoon, Villanueva asked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to extend more technical assistance to the MSME sector, which generates a lot of employment for Filipino workers.

The lawmaker pointed out that the target trainees of the National Wage and Productivity Commission (NWPC) for 2021 was just 9,000 MSMEs, considering that there are 935,000 registered MSMEs with the Department of Trade and Industry.

"Napakalaki po ng sektor ng MSME at nakakapaglikha ito ng trabaho at oportunidad para sa ating mga kababayan. Ayon sa Philippine Statistics Authority, 99% o 935,000 mula sa 945,000 na kabuuang rehistradong negosyo dito po sa atin ay kabilang sa MSME sector," Villanueva said in a statement.

"Maliban po sa pautang sa mga MSMEs, dapat po palawakin pa ng DOLE ang technical training assistance para sa kanila upang makapag-adjust sila sa new normal at mapabilis ang kanilang pag-ahon mula sa pandemya," said the lawmaker, who chairs the Senate labor committee.

Villanueva inquired on the target beneficiaries of NWPC's technical assistance and training for 2021, which the agency set at 9,000 MSMEs, 25 percent lower than its 2020 target of 12,000 trainees, "to find out the limitations being faced by the agency."

Responding to the lawmaker's question, NWPC executive director Maria Criselda Sy explained that their limited manpower was a major factor in training more MSMEs to improve their technical know-how, aside from the hindrances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Villanueva responded that the NWPC's targets remained to be low, considering the scale of the sector and the jobs it is able to generate, citing trade department data that about every 7 of 10 workers in the country work at MSMEs.

"It remains na 'yong 9,000 na target ay napakababa po, kung titingnan natin ang kabuuan ng sektor ng ating MSMEs. Lalo na po ngayong panahon ng pandemya, kinakailangan ng mga negosyong ito ng suporta ng pamahalaan upang maipagpatuloy ang kanilang operasyon hanggang sa humupa ang pandemya," Villanueva urged.

Aside from supporting MSMEs, Villanueva sought DOLE to expand its employment facilitation efforts and sustainable livelihood programs to ensure its 2021 budget is more responsive to the employment crisis experienced in the country.

"With unemployment figures still in double digits, our usual reliefs are insufficient already. Our path towards employment recovery relies on strategic employment facilitation, sustainable livelihood, and reliable government support to MSME, who we all know is one of the hardest hit sectors in this pandemic," he said. "We need to provide all the assistance we can give to MSME, which employs over 90 percent of our workers."

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