Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, in his media briefing on April 14, announced President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s approval of programs to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to cope with the health crisis.
The new programs for small businesses include the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS), guarantee on small business loans, and enhanced net operating loss carryover of five years.
According to the Palace official, the SBWS will aid to up to 3.4 million enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)-affected employees of small businesses and will cost the government some 38.5 to 51 billion pesos. This will guarantee a subsidy amount of 5,000 to 8,000 pesos per worker per month for up to two months.
Sec. Roque, however, clarified that the Department of Labor and Employment- COVID 19 Adjustment Measures Program (DOLE-CAMP)beneficiaries who already received 5,000 pesos will only be given one month of wage subsidy under the SBWS to avoid duplication. Meanwhile, the credit guarantee will enable affected small businesses to access bank financing more easily.
“Ang gobyerno ang mag-gagarantiya ng mga pangungutang ng mga small and medium enterprises…ang gobyerno ay magbibigay ng garantiya sa hanggang 60 billion pesos,” said Secretary Roque.
In the same briefing, the President’s spokesperson confirmed the Chief Executive’s decision to purchase rapid testing kits to complement the use of PCR test kits that are currently being used.
“He ordered the spending of public funds for the purchase of rapid testing kits to be used in conjunction [with PCR testing],” emphasized Sec. Roque.
On PRRD’s rumored absence in the ASEAN virtual meeting, the Cabinet official confirmed that the President joined his fellow ASEAN leaders at the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19.
Secretary Roque revealed that in the said ASEAN meeting, the President talked about the need to boost production and facilitate intra-ASEAN trade of life-saving necessities to address the shortage of vital medicines and medical equipment and supplies.
PRRD also underscored that the Philippines’ most urging priority is to ensure sufficient supply of rice to its people, and that “without a vaccine or a cure, we can only delay the spread of the disease.”
Lastly, the President underscored to his fellow ASEAN leaders that COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic that the world will face and urged nations to be ready for future outbreaks. ###OPS/PCOO