Former Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. on Monday asked the government to provide firms in granular lockdown areas with cash and tax incentives to help them stay afloat amid the Covid19 pandemic.
Marcos broached the idea during his recent radio interview with veteran broadcast journalist Deo Macalma of DZRH.
“Pag nag-granular lockdown ang isang lugar, walang papasok at walang lalabas sa area na yan. Kaya’t talagang walang hanapbuhay. Ang mabigat talaga ang tama ay sa mga maliit na negosyo. Ito yung mga sari-sari store, mga barberya, mekaniko, yung ganung klase ng mga negosyo. Heto talaga yung mga naubos na yung kanilang trabaho,” Marcos said.
The government recently announced a shift in its Covid19 strategy by testing a granular lockdown system for Metro Manila that will last for 14 days and will only feature two quarantine classifications – enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ). The pilot run started on Sept. 16 and will last until Sept. 30.
He urged the government to consider giving cash incentives through wage subsidies to entire firms and individual workers.
“Kaya’t siguro puwede nating pag-isipan muli na bigyan hindi lamang ang indibidwal kundi ang negosyo at magbigay tayo ng tulong kahit cash subsidy muna,” Marcos added.
The former legislator also noted that while providing food packs helps, it would be best for firms to receive cash to pay for fixed operational costs such as water and electricity bills.
“Ang polisiya ngayon ay food packs. Maganda yan pero sana meron din silang hawak na konting pera makabayad sa tubig, kuryente. Napakahirap kung maputulan pa sila niyan,” Marcos said.
He also asked the Department of Finance (DoF) to study the possibility of providing tax relief to ailing businesses since they will surely be incapable of paying taxes due to steep revenue losses.
“Pag-isipan sana ng Department of Finance (DoF) kung paanong tulungan sila in terms of tax relief. Kapag naka-granular lockdown sila, siguro naman hindi na sila kailangan magbayad ng buwis dahil wala naman silang hanapbuhay. That is something we can think about na parang tax holiday,” Marcos said.
He added that sudden closures caused by granular lockdowns merit giving additional aid on top of what the government is providing in its current programs.
“That’s why I think we should give them breathing room. Hopefully makapagbigay pa tayo ng economic assistance sa mga MSMEs at kung puwede naman pag-isipan natin yung tax holiday o tax amnesty para sa ating mga negosyo,” Marcos added.
The Philippine government will roll out the P1.14-trillion National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) that aims to provide a subsidy of P8,000 per month to 1 million workers for a maximum of three months. However, the budget for the planned wage subsidies is still under review.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) account for more than 99% percent of registered businesses in the country and provides a total of 5,380,815 jobs or 62.66% of the country’s total employment.