The government will be giving financial assistance from P5,000 to P8,000 to 3.4 million employees of small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMES) that have been affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon and in other parts of the country.

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Tagged as Small Business Wage Subsidy Program (SBWS), the project was presented by Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to Presidente Rodrigo Duterte during their April 13,2020 meeting. 

In his April 14 briefing, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Spokesman Karlo Nograles confirmed that the project has already been approved by the President.

"Out na iyong large business dito. Dito lang tayo sa small businesses na currently registered at gumagamit ng SSS, at registered sa BIR. Ito muna iyong priority," sabi ni Nograles.

A person must be officially employed since March 1, 2020 in order to be given assistance. 

Nograles continued: "Number two, dapat hindi pa siya nababayaran ng employer niya. So for that month, hindi pa siya nababayaran.

"Number three, lahat covered except iyong on leave and except iyong mga nag-a-avail na ng SSS unemployment benefits.

"Number four, dapat hindi na-retrench, ni-let go, o ifinire-out ng kumpanya ang empleyado at iyong empleyado, hindi rin mag-resign.

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"Iyon iyong condition kasi, ang point natin dito, ayaw natin mawalan ng trabaho ang empleyado."

The subsidy will go on for two months. 

Nograles also clarified that employees who will recieve financial assistance from the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will be given one month subsidy. 

"Kung naalala niyo, meron tayong CAMP under sa Department of Labor and Employment. So iyong under ng CAMP at nabigyan na ng DOLE, P5,000 na financial assistance, hindi na tayo magbibigay ng one month [subsidy] nila. Pero sa second month o sa second tranche, covered sila."

The subsidy will be given every 15 days. 

"The first tranche will be paid out on May 1 to May 15, and the second tranche will be paid out on May 16 to May 30." 

Employees in Regions III (Central Luzon) and IV-A (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Quezon area or Calabarzon) are also included in the program.

Finance Secretary Dominguez noted that there are 1.6 million small business covered by SBWS, including those that are not "fully compliant" with SSS and BIR.

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On the other hand, there are around 2.6 million employees under employers that are registerd with the said goverment agencies, and 800,000 of these are listed as "not fully compliant."

Dominguez added that these small businesses are those that are not included in the list of 2,745 large taxpayers filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua also mentioned to President Duterte during their April 13 meeting that the DOF will launch the said program as assistance to middle-class earners affected by the ECQ. 

"Basically we are going to help the middle class because in one of your speeches a few days ago, you wanted to help the middle class, and so we have proposed a program to help the middle class," sabi ni Chua.

He also added that the SBWS will be launched under Republic Act No. 11469, which aims to help small companies during the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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