The government is proposing a PHP51-billion aid package for workers of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that was placed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua said this would be part of government efforts to help middle-class workers in the formal sector.
“We are proposing to give PHP 51 billion to the employees of small businesses. So that is the first,” Chua said in a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and other members of the Cabinet late Monday night.
He said the PHP51 billion would be given apart from the PHP200 billion Social Amelioration Program (SAP) for 18 million low-income families.
These low-income households will be receiving financial assistance amounting to between PHP5,000 and PHP8,000 for April and May.
Chua explained that the aid would be directed to businesses identified through agencies, such as the Social Security System (SSS) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Earlier, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III discounted any cash aid for the middle class.
Dominguez, however, said that about 3 to 3.5 million MSME workers “evidently will receive cash support.”
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, meanwhile, said it was time to plan ways to “gradually shift towards reviving the economy” since the emergency subsidy could not last forever.
“We have to bring back the jobs. For confidence to be brought back, I think they have to see that the number of people getting infected (is) starting to taper off and go down,” Concepcion said.
Earlier, Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla requested the government to include middle-class families in the cash subsidy program.
As of Monday, the Philippines has recorded 4,932 Covid-19 cases with 315 deaths and 242 recoveries.