QUEZON CITY, May 29 (PIA) - More than 3.05 million workers have benefited from the first tranche of Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) Program, according to Social Security President and CEO Aurora Cruz Ignacio. This accounts for 90% of total number of qualified beneficiaries to date.
In a PCOO Virtual Townhall Meeting today, Ignacio said the first tranche of Php5,000 to 8,000 government subsidy was received by qualified SSS members from April 29 to May 31, 2020. Meanwhile, SSS have started paying out for the second tranche from May 16 to June 15, 2020.
Workers who availed of the DOLE-COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (DOLE-CAMP) subsidy are still eligible to avail the SBWS assistance. But they will either receive differential amount of the SBWS or will not receive any SBWS at all for the second tranche if SBWS in their region is Php5,000, which is the amount of DOLE CAMP subsidy.
"Dahil two tranches ang SBWS, ang second tranche ng mga nakatanggap ng DOLE-CAMP ay net na lamang po ang ng SBWS," she explained while mentioning SBWS pay out to 193,000 beneficiaries that also benefited from DOLE-CAMP.
Active SSS members who were retrenched due to downsizing or closure of some businesses but are ineligible for SBWS may soon avail of the unemployment insurance benefit. She however asked members to wait for announcement as to its availability for online filing as the SSS website has been dedicated for SBWS application.
"Kung sila ay nagko-contribute sa SSS at natupad nila ang hinihinging requirements, maaari po silang mag-apply ng unemployment insurance benefit. Ngunit paumanhin lamang po dahil nitong mga nakaraang linggo ay naka-dedicate po ang aming website sa application ng SBWS. Pero nitong weekend po ay unti-unti na po naming ibinabalik ang functionalities ng aming website. Very soon ay magbibigay kami ng announcement kung kailan sila makakapag-apply," she said.
Ignacio was quick to clarify that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) downloaded the Php51B fund to SSS and are not from the contributions from SSS members.
"Pera po ito ng gobyerno dahil ito ay tulong [para sa mga manggagawa], hindi po ito pera ng mga miyembro. Ginamit lamang po ang sistema ng SSS," explained Ignacio, as she reiterated the need for small businesses to pay taxes and SSS contributions on time to qualify for this subsidy.
PCOO Secretary Martin M. Andanar emphasized the government's balancing act between the health of Filipino people and the health of economy.
"On the first of June... our President Rodrigo Roa-Duterte will lead our people, into a transitioning phase... where movements of people and the opening of businesses, although still limited, are intended to revive the economy, while securing the health and safety measures of every individual," Andanar said.
He pointed out that the government is providing a safety net to ensure that no one gets left behind. Government subsidies like SBWS are in place for those who have lost their jobs and those who are marginalized. (MTQ/PIA-IDPD)