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Villanueva pushes for wage subsidy to 5.7M workers in MSMEs

Around 5.7 million workers in the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should be provided with wage subsidies as the country wrestles with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Senator Joel Villanueva said Tuesday.

"Hindi lang makakatulong ito sa daily wage workers at sa no work, no pay sector but also to avoid increasing unemployed Pinoys," Villanueva said in a message to reporters.

He said the proposal is to provide at least 30% to 50% wage subsidy to these workers on top of the Labor Department's COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).

Villanueva pointed out that CAMP only targets to cover around 540,000 laborers.

According to the senator, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III already acknowledged the need for such subsidy especially as the MSME sector employs the lower middle class.

"The economic managers are looking [for] P35 billion because they will rely on the list from SSS," Villanueva said.

He, however, said that his calculations based on latest government data show that P15.9 billion to P53 billion would be needed if the government would provide a 30% to 100% wage subsidy for a month to 5.7 million MSME workers.

The wage subsidy should be conditional to prevent business owners from laying off their employees amid the health emergency.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night agreed that middle income families, not only the poorest of the poor, should also receive cash assistance from the government.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that Duterte's economic team is studying the proposal to include the middle class households in the government’s cash subsidy program.—AOL, GMA News