STATEMENT SUPPORTING ANTI-COVID 19 MEASURES, SUPPORT FOR WORKERS AND BUSINESSES

Makati Business Club supports the measures the national and local governments are taking to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. We acknowledge their decisions have to take into account saving lives and at the same time preserving livelihoods, contending with our limited resources, and racing against the quickening spread of the virus. We acknowledge review and revision will be needed, including to ensure people can make a living or receive assistance, and food and other goods can move in a timely manner.

Supporting Anti-COVID-19 Measures. MBC calls on its members and other companies to take steps to help employees comply with quarantine, curfew, and other measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. These steps include:

  1. Aggressive work-from-home arrangements
  2. Pro-active social distancing and other precautionary measures for workers needed on site
  3. Expanding paid sick leave for regular employees and ensuring sick employees go on sick leave, especially after DOLE pledged to cover the cost

Supporting Workers.  We support President Duterte’s call for companies to grant loans or early bonuses or 13th month pay to employees who may need the money to support family members who have lost their jobs. This is especially critical for daily paid workers. We call on the government to explore a quick way to give laid-off employees unemployment benefits or loans, especially if they are not entitled to this from SSS or elsewhere, including contractual and informal workers. This is both humanitarian and good for the economy, which needs Filipinos to spend to limit the downturn.

Supporting Businesses. While everyone’s Top Priority is to limit the infections and deaths resulting from COVID-19 and at the same time weather the resulting financial strain,  it is important to support businesses, especially small and medium enterprises and their employees, during this period. To that end, we call on our members and other businesses to give small and medium enterprises concessions on payments for loan payments, rent, utilities, supplies, and others. With the Metro Manila quarantine ending on April 14, we ask for the BIR to extend the deadline for filing and paying income taxes.

MBC welcomes the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ extension of financial and regulatory relief to banks, other financial institutions, and borrowers. We support Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez’s plan to boost borrowing by as much as P90 billion to maintain planned spending levels even as COVID-19 reduces government revenue. And we welcome Rep. Joey Salceda and Rep. Stella Quimbo’s proposals for P190 billion and P108 billion of stimulus spending, respectively.

We ask the Administration and Congress to pursue these and other measures to help displaced employees and struggling businesses, including reallocating unutilized discretionary funds or other budgets for funding high priority social needs in this emergency. We are one with other business organizations in being ready to assist the government in any way.