No more govt. subsidy to companies for workers' 13th month pay – Roque

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 27) — Companies struggling to pay the 13th month benefit of its employees will not be getting any subsidy from the government as it does not have funding for it, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

"Malinaw na po yang pinag-aralan: wala pong pagkukunan ng subsidy," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during a virtual briefing. "So ang ginawa na lang po natin, dahil mandatory naman po talaga ang pagbayad ng 13th month pay, pauutangin natin yung kinakailangang mangutang para mabayaran ang 13th month pay."

[Translation: This has been studied clearly: there are no funding sources for the subsidy. What we did instead is lend money to employers who need to borrow in order to give out the 13th month pay since it's mandatory.]

The government has identified rural banks and the Small Business Corporation (SBC) for the provision of loans, Roque said. The SBC has ₱10 billion, ₱6 billion of which is for tourism businesses and the remaining ₱4 billion for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Last week, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III told MSMEs to resort to soft loans to cover the mandatory benefit, as it cannot be deferred nor cancelled, in time for the benefit payouts.

The official earlier said the agency might need up to ₱13.7 billion to subsidize employers, with millions of workers affected by the pandemic.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has also sought the same amount to subsidize employers to help them give out the 13th month pay.