P45.6 billion small business qage subsidy 99% completed

Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - June 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines  — The government has already distributed P45.6 billion in subsidies to more than three million beneficiaries under the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.

In a statement, Finance assistant secretary Antonio Lambino said the distribution of benefits under the program is now almost complete, as 99 percent of the beneficiaries have already received their cash aid.

“This means that more than P45.6 billion worth of subsidies have been credited directly to more than three million beneficiaries in less than two months since the end of the application period on May 8,” Lambino said.

“What has allowed the government to quickly distribute the aid relatively smoothly was the use of automated processing and digital technologies in running the program,” he added.

According to Lambino, the government implemented the SBWS program by taking advantage of available technologies to accurately determine the intended beneficiaries and distribute subsidies with zero face-to-face contact.

He also lauded the Development Bank of Philippines (DBP) and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) for helping ensure the timely distribution of cash aid.

Meanwhile, Lambino said 41,386 employees under the first tranche of the SBWS program and 56,978 employees under the second tranche have yet to claim their subsidies from MLhuillier Kwarta Padala branches as of June 24.

He said SBWS beneficiaries who opted to receive their cash aid through the remittance company have until June 28 to claim their grants.

“We are calling on these employees who were already notified to claim their subsidies from MLhullier to pick them up on or before June 28. Wage subsidies unclaimed after the said date shall be forfeited and shall revert to the government for use in other programs to fight COVID-19,” Lambino said.

The SBWS program seeks to provide relief to employees of small businesses who were affected by work stoppages resulting from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and the imposition of quarantine measures in different parts of the country.

Under the program, small businesses workers will receive cash aid for two months, ranging from P5,000 to P8,00o per month per employee, depending on the minimum wage level in the region where the workers are employed.

The SSS originally targeted to give subsidies to 3.4 million small business workers, with a total program budget of P51 billion.

Subsidies are credited either directly through the beneficiaries’ chosen banks or PayMaya e-wallet accounts or sent through cash remittance via MLhuillier Kwarta Padala.

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