Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday sought for a stimulus package for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that are hit hardest by the pandemic health crisis.
Robredo said the package will address the problem of MSME owners who tend to lay off employees because of the economic slump that shuttered their business.
“So ang dami talagang nagsara. And with the closure, ang daming mga jobs na nawala. Parati kong ina-advocate sa pamahalaan na mag-put up sila ng stimulus package–hindi utang–stimulus package para sa mga MSMEs para mayroon silang ability to keep employing their employees, including giving them 13th month [pay],” she said during her visit to Bukidnon.
(Several businesses have closed. And with the closure, jobs are lost. I am urging the government to put up a stimulus package, not loans, but a stimulus package for MSMEs.)
She made the remark when pressed about her proposal to allow business workers to get 13th month pay even during the pandemic.
Currently, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is planning to put up a lending facility for MSMEs to provide 13th month pay of their workers.
But she said giving a stimulus package would be more effective instead of giving loans with low interest.
“Tapos give them the remuneration that they deserve. Kasi kung utang, kahit pa–nakita natin over the past year, na binabaan nang grabe iyong mga interest, walang umuutang. Walang umuutang because of the uncertainty, eh,” she said.
(If we offer them loans, even at low interest, no one would take because of the uncertainty in doing business during a crisis, as we have learned last year.)
“Pero kung stimulus package siya na hindi mo kailangang bayaran pero nagpa-promise ka sa pamahalaan to keep people employed, mas malaking bagay,” Robredo pointed out.
(If it is a stimulus package, you don’t need to pay it back but you must make a promise that you will keep your employees, it’s a significant thing.)
Sustainable feeding program
To curb hunger in the country, Robredo said there should be a sustainable feeding program for malnourished children, who are having issues in their school performance.
She added that the government must also address the root cause of malnutrition, which is poverty.
“Pero how sustainable are they (feeding programs)? Naalis mo sila sa malnutrition, after a few months bumalik, kasi hindi mo naman na-address iyong root cause. Ang root cause poverty, eh,” said Robredo.
(You get the children out malnutrition, after a few months they are malnourished again, because the state has failed to address the root cause, which is poverty.)
“Pero ang inaasikaso iyong family na mabigyan sila ng maraming opportunity na makaangat-angat sila sa buhay para iyong mga anak nila hindi maging malnourished,” she pointed out.
(If we give their families the opportunities they need to provide for their children, their kids won’t be malnourished.) –LBG, GMA News