Cagayan De Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez urged the national government to allocate P13.7 billion subsidy so distressed employers could provide a 13th month pay or Christmas bonus to their workers.
Rodriguez filed his House Resolution 1310, which is addressed to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
According to the congressman, employers in the micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) are the ones who particularly need assistance.
Rodriguez that according to data from DOLE and the Philippine Statistics Authority, around 1.5 million and 5.1 million MSME workers have been affected by the pandemic.
He said in Cagayan De Oro City alone, there are already over 16,000 workers displaced by the COVID-19 crisis.
“2020 has been a very bad year for most Filipinos because of COVID-19 and its effects on their health, employment, and income,” Rodriguez said.
“Our workers in the micro, small and medium enterprises have suffered so much since March 15 from layoffs or reduced working days up to now, and it will be cruel to deny Christmas to them by not giving their 13th month pay!” he added.
Rodriguez noted that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III projects that P5 billion to P13.7 billion will be needed to subsidize distressed MSME employers’ 13th month pay for their workers.
P13.7-B subsidy for 13th month pay, bonus of workers urged
“The government, specifically the DOLE, should come in to implement a subsidy program and provide funds for qualified and distressed employers, particularly micro, small and medium-scale enterprises,” he said.
Belo said earlier that only the businesses categorized as micro and small would be granted assistance should the government provide subsidy for the 13th-month pay.
An enterprise is considered “micro” if its asset size is at least or below P3,000,000, with only one to 9 employees.
Meanwhile, a business with an asset size ranging between P3,000,001 and P15,000,000 with 10 to 99 workers is considered “small.”
A “medium” business has P15,000,001 to P100,000,000 asset size with 100 to 199 employees.
The Department of Trade and Industry data showed that MSMEs account for 99% of business enterprises.
The MSME sector also accounts for more than 60% of the country’s total employment.