October 16, 2021 | 00h00
MANILA, Philippines – The Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) is helping to create mechanisms for a 200-500 million peso loan facility to help businesses affected by the pandemic.
This facility is expected to provide the 13th month of mandatory salary to employees.
ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Finance were in agreement on the principle of the allocation of 200 million pesos to 500 million pesos for the new facility which will provide interest-free loans to cover the 13th month of salary.
Micro and small businesses wishing to take advantage of the loan program should obtain certification from DOLE indicating that they are unable to provide the 13th month of salary due to the impact of the pandemic.
Ortiz-Luis said the process of obtaining DOLE certification will be completed in one day.
The loans are expected to be repayable within one to two years, he said.
Commerce Secretary Ramon Lopez said earlier that DTI’s funding arm, Small Business Corp., is setting up a loan facility to help businesses affected by the pandemic pay their 13th month’s salary.
Ortiz-Luis said it was important to provide assistance to micro and small businesses facing cash flow issues during the pandemic.
He said microenterprises account for around 90 percent of the total number of establishments and 65 percent of employment in the country, while small ones account for around 8.5 percent.
Half of those businesses, he said, have had to shut down, while the other half, although open, still have difficulty paying their employees.
He said the majority of micro and small businesses unable to provide their workers’ 13th month’s wages are in the national capital region.
“When we talk about the 13th month salary, it’s a bigger issue (for them),” he said.