Subsidy program

July 10, 2020

THE COVID-19 pandemic that continues to “terrorize” people across the globe has once more focused on the problems of joblessness, underemployment, hunger and poverty in the Philippines.

Admittedly, the pandemic is a major blow to government efforts to meet the employment needs of the burgeoning population, with the return of many of our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

In the country, saddening and lamentable are reports that many local business establishments might be forced to close shop or retrench many of their employees just to trim their losses.

That’s why we commend Senator Win Gatchalian for urging the government to carry out a subsidy program to prevent further layoffs as quarantine measures take a huge bite out of businesses.

The proposed measure is like the highly-successful Paycheck Protection Program in the United States.

Gatchalian, vice chairman of the Senate committee on economic affairs, said the scheme is a loan program designed to provide incentives for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

Under the program, business owners can get full loan forgiveness as an incentive as long as the funds are used for eligible expenses, according to the soft-spoken senator from Valenzuela City.

This way, he said, the company gets to retain its employees while maintaining its operations.

“If we can include this (subsidy program) in the Bayanihan Act 2, malaking bagay po ito sa ating mga empleyado, and also for our companies,” said the neophyte but workaholic senator.

The newly-expired Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, granted President Duterte additional authority to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines.

In the view of many, members of the two-chamber Congress ought to speed up the approval of the proposed subsidy program.