President Rodrigo Duterte approved a program to subsidize the salaries of middle-class workers affected by the 2019 Coronation Virus Disease crisis (COVID-19), Cabinet Secretary Carlo Nograles said Tuesday.
In a televised briefing, Nograles said that on Monday the President approved the Small Business Assistance Program to help some 1.6 million small businesses and 3.4 million workers affected by the introduction of a strengthened social quarantine in Luzon and other parts of the country.
The programme will provide between £5,000 and £8,000 in cash assistance to eligible workers, based on the minimum daily wage rates in their respective regions.
According to Nograles, the grant will be provided in two instalments in May.
The relevant workers must be employed from 1 March this year and have not received their wages for that month. Retired workers who have resigned or are on vacation, as well as workers who have used unemployment benefits, are not eligible for the program.
Those who have already received cash assistance in the amount of 5,000 pesos from the Ministry of Labour and Employment are entitled to a second round of release.
According to Nograles, the subsidy will be released into the employees' bank accounts or through the SSS's multipurpose unique identification cards, electronic wallets and money transfer centers.
Deputy Finance Minister Carl Kendrick Chua told the president and some cabinet officials on Monday that they will use data from the Social Security System and the Internal Revenue Service to identify the list of beneficiaries belonging to micro, small, and medium businesses.
"Jung 2.6 million for Nasa Alfalista BIR". Ibig Sabihin, "Youth Employers in Ai nagko" - answers the request of the BIR. So, "yang po ang unang tutulungan natin," said Chua.
"But 'yung .8 million workers, tutulungan din natin pero ang problema po 'yung employer nila hindi nagko-comply pero alam po natin. Tutulungan din natin pero ang problema po 'yung employer nila hindi nagko-comply pero alam po natin'.
The government also will provide small businesses with a credit guarantee to ensure easy access to bank financing, according to President Harry Rock's press secretary.
Roque also said the government will implement the extended net operating loss carry-forward (NOLCO) system for five years to give businesses more time to recover their losses from the pandemic.
The Treasury Office and the SSS are also developing a program of payroll subsidies of $45 billion pesos for "the workers of the respective companies," but the president did not give details.
About 40 percent of the country's population is in the middle-income class, according to a 2018 study by the Philippine Institute of Development's government study group.
The middle class was classified as those with monthly household incomes ranging from P19 040 to P114 240 at 2017 prices.
Middle class families live mainly in urban areas and in Grand Manila with easy access to various private services and institutions, the study says.