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Rody EO protects MSME — Go

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Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for signing Executive Order (EO) 169, which seeks to strengthen micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in the franchising industry.

The Philippine Statistics Authority said MSME account for 99.5 percent of all business enterprises in the Philippines, with 68 percent engaged in franchising.

The EO provides that the franchisor may be eligible for incentives or benefits from the national government if the minimum terms and conditions are included in the franchise agreement.

It also directs the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to “formulate and enact measures for the entitlement to incentives of qualified franchisors, subject to existing laws, policies and regulations.”

Meanwhile, franchisors with existing franchise agreements with MSME will be required to comply with the new requirements when their agreements with franchisees are renewed.

Franchisors are also mandated to register their franchise agreements to an MSME Registry of Franchise Agreements which will be established by the DTI.

To further support MSME, the Land Bank of the Philippines earlier announced the implementation of a P50-billion loan program for businesses affected by natural disasters and other man-made crises such as armed conflict.

Meanwhile, as MSME have yet to recover from the pandemic, the president of the country’s largest organization of business owners appealed for the former’s exemption from the P33 or 6-percent wage increase recently approved by the wage board of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE).

In an interview, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) president George Barcelon echoed the sentiments of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines that MSME must be spared from the wage hike.

“I suggest that the P33 adjustment be applied to medium and large companies. While those who were laid off in the micro and small businesses now have a chance to be recalled, the old minimum wage should be maintained till year-end to verify their sustainability,” Barcelon said.

“This would help generate more employment and reduce unemployment for the economy to rebound,” he added.

Over the weekend, the DoLE announced that the daily minimum wage in Metro Manila was raised by P33, and by P55 to P110 in the Western Visayas region.

On the other hand, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the new wage hike will be unbearable for what he called survival entrepreneurs.

“The micro will have a hard time and I am sure they will not comply as they are what I call survival entrepreneurs. Bigger companies, medium to large, or even extra-large can afford it provided they have not been affected severely by the pandemic,” Concepcion said in a separate interview.

He added that those enterprises that will be greatly affected by the wage hike are those business owners involved in the tourism sector, as the said segment has been severely affected by the contagion.

Workers, meanwhile, got the support of Eric Teng, president of RestaurantPh, a group of restaurateurs, saying that business owners should also understand the plight of workers.

“I think we have to understand the difficulties of our workforce. Prices of commodities and fuel had gone up. I think it’s fair for salaries to be increased. But I also fear for struggling businesses, especially the small ones. After all, we are all suffering from the same difficulties,” Teng pointed out.

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