THERE is no need to defer the 13th month pay for this year as the government stands ready to support distressed micro and small enterprises amid the pandemic.
In fact, there is no official discussion on deferment because companies needing funds can possibly source from loans.
The government will provide support, whether through loan or subsidy, to micro and small enterprises and their workers, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.
Besides, the matter is being reviewed by the Department of Labor and Employment.
Business and labor groups are “in the same boat” on the matter of the 13th-month pay.
Sonny Matula, chairman of the Nagkaisa labor coalition and president of Federation of Free Workers, said trade unions support the proposal of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines for the government to subsidize the 13th-month pay of workers to be given by distressed micro and small enterprises.
Nowadays, workers need protection even more. If the employers can’t really do it, the government should come up with a way to help them, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) chairman emeritus George Barcelon said ECOP’s suggestion is “very appropriate”, adding employers were asking for sources of funds for them to provide the 13th-month pay to their employees.
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration is under fire for holding what they called “poorly-choreographed” public hearings on draft guidelines for e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products without listening to the voice of the stakeholders and the public.
The alleged hearing came in the wake of allegations the FDA received foreign funding from anti-tobacco groups prompting the House leadership to call for an investigation on the agency’s potential conflict of interest and bias.
“We urge the FDA to listen to and respect the rights of 16 million Filipino smokers who deserve better alternatives to combustible cigarettes,” said Clarisse Virgino, the Philippine representative to the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates or CAPHRA—a regional alliance of consumer tobacco harm reduction advocacy organizations.
“The supposed consultations held by FDA on October 6 and October 8 on vapor products and heated tobacco products, respectively, turned out to be one-sided, pre-recorded lectures with cherry-picked questions that ignored the concerns of vapers, skipped scientific evidence, and violated the rights of consumers to be heard,” Virgino said in a statement.
Peter Paul Dator of Vapers PH said the FDA should have included the inputs from consumers and stakeholders who will be directly affected by the draft guidelines.
“All we ask for are transparency and inclusion in the discussion because we—the consumers—are the ones directly affected by these guidelines, and not the pharmaceutical or medical groups who have no stake in the issue. We hope that in the next dialogues, if there are any, the FDA officials will open their minds, listen to scientific evidence, and do their job of regulating, and not restricting the use of these novel products, as our existing laws intended,” Dator said.
Dator said the imposed limitations during the public consultation made it challenging to discuss extensively and thoroughly the crucial provisions of the proposed guidelines. “In coming up with a regulation that has the potential to positively change the lives of 16 million Filipino smokers, we, the stakeholders were expecting a more transparent and participatory process,” he said.
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