The chairperson of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Labor and Employment on Wednesday backed the proposed wage subsidy program of the Department of Labor and Employment under the stewardship of Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Rep. Enrico Pineda of 1-PACMAN said the program will stop employers from further retrenching their workforce.
“Our proposal and the DOLE is to subsidize the salary of workers between 25 and 50 percent,” Pineda said at a news forum.
He said “this is what we have been fighting for under the Bayanihan 3 that is being pushed by our beloved Speaker Lord Allan Velasco. If the government is able to provide wage subsidy to its employees, it will prevent the businesses from taking them off the workforce.”
Pineda was referring to Velasco’s House Bill 8628 or the proposed Bayanihan to Arise As One Act (Bayanihan 3), which seeks to provide funding of P420-billion”•including P52 billion in wage subsidies”•to stimulate the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measure received strong bipartisan support in the House, with 224 lawmakers from the supermajority, minority and independent blocs signing on either as principal or co-authors.
Pineda revealed that since March 2020, more than 400,000 workers from the formal economy lost their jobs due to the pandemic, while more are displaced from the informal economy.
At the same time, Pineda underscored the need to expedite the rollout of the government’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program.
He urged the Department of Health to speed up the negotiation on the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.
According to Pineda, the vaccine could not only allay fears of workers to return to work but also prompt businesses to reopen.
“If the vaccines are available, somehow we will have the level of protection,” he said.
“Although it is not 100 percent effective, it will boost the confidence of our workers to go out and go to their places of work; and also for our employers to open their business again 100 percent.”