• Melo Acuna

Most Filipino families received their dues from the national government

Department of Finance claims 85 out of every 100 Filipino families covered by government subsidies

MANILA – Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said about 85 out of every 100 Filipino families are covered by the government’s subsidy programs amount to P256 billion for the most vulnerable sectors affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement released this afternoon, the Department of Finance said the state subsidies cover some 18 million poor and low-income households that survive mainly on the informal economy’s “no-work, no-pay” set-up. According to the DOF, this is about 75% of all Filipino families and are bound to receive a total of P205 billion in cash grants. Some 3.4 million workers in the formal sector employed in small businesses will also receive wage subsidies from a combined amount of P51 billion.

The subsidy programs will only be for two months. President Duterte, according to the DOF statement give top priority to saving lives and extending lifelines to the sectors most affected by the sudden stop of economic activity when the national and local governments enforced containment measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In a television interview, Secretary Dominguez said there are 24.6 million families in the country and the government has covered around 85 percent.

“What are now covered are families whose members are working for large business, in particular the top 2,745 firms, and families whose members are working for the government, both national and local. They comprise the remaining 15 percent of families,” he explained.

The wage subsidies that will be extended to affected workers range from P5,000 to P8,000 a month for two months depending on the regions where the workers are employed.

“A few weeks ago, we began distributing the largest social program in the country’s history, a P205 billion social amelioration program for informal sector families,” Dominguez added. He said they also recognize that providing a lifeline for small businesses and their employees is critical to keeping the family afloat.

The Finance secretary they have asked the private sector to help their workers since March 6,2020. However, small businesses have limited or no revenues during the quarantine, and they do not have enough cash to pay the salaries of their workers, rent and loan amortizations and other expenses.

The government has mandated grace periods for rental payments and loans to ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to individuals and businesses. (Melo M. Acuña)

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III. (Melo M. Acuna Photo)

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