DOF begins final set of cash payouts to workers

Ian Nicolas Cigaral - Philstar.com
DOF begins final set of cash payouts to workers
An office worker wearing a face shield rides his bicycle home in Manila on May 20, 2020.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — Despite delays on the first batch of assistance, small firm workers displaced by the pandemic have started to receive the second and final tranche of aid promised to them by the government.

Names of an initial 249,000 employees were already submitted to banks that will credit the subsidy to the accounts of workers or personally hand it out, Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino said in a text message on Wednesday.

Disbursement of the second part of the Small Business Wage Subsidy Program started on Tuesday and would end just in time on June 15.

Under the program, the finance department allotted P50.4 billion to give out between P5,000 and P8,000 to 3.4 million displaced workers from 1.6 million employers affected by the outbreak and shuttered by the lockdowns meant to control the virus’ spread. The amount of assistance depends on the region where the employee is located.

For the first tranche, Lambino said 2.85 million people were already subsidized as of Tuesday, another 200,000 had their records verified and would get aid soon, while the balance of 350,000 would come from applications yet to be evaluated. 

The number of workers getting assisted are employed from a fewer number of companies. From the original estimate of 1.6 million employers, workers from only 167,389 firms were actually paid. 

Explaining the discrepancy between the target and actual number of companies, Lambino said some businesses that qualified for aid turned out to employ no one.

“Majority of the employers on the initial list turned out to be sole proprietors with no submitted list of employees,” he said in a text message.

As a result, the Department of Finance (DOF) chose to assist more workers from a smaller group of SMEs. The first batch of aid should have culminated last May 15, but the government missed that self-imposed deadline. Lambino said payouts are now set to finish by May 31.

Quicker than DSWD

As it is, handing out the first and second tranche of cash are now simultaneously happening, and despite the delays, the agency has moved faster than the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in distributing government-mandated assistance.

To date, DSWD has not started disbursing its second batch of P100-billion assistance.

Apart from a smaller number of beneficiaries, DOF has the advantage of using tax records to locate their recipients, while the social welfare department targets the poor and the informal sector who tends to have little to no available records.

The process of distributing aid also differs. At the start of its aid program, DOF already tapped cashless systems like PayMaya of PLDT Inc. and MLhuillier Financial Services, a remittance center, to facilitate payments. Majority of DSWD’s first payouts were still handed house-to-house, and only in the second batch distribution will cashless payments be utilized. 

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with