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1 May 2020

On the occasion of Labor Day, Makati Business Club expresses our gratitude and respect to our countrymen and women in essential industries who are exposing themselves to risk during this COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thank you for providing life-saving medical care; maintaining peace, order, and security; providing national and local government services; producing and selling food, water, medicine, PPE, and other necessities; delivering goods through a complex system including ships, ports, trucks, and motorcycles; providing banking and money transfer services; and operating power, water, telecommunications, and other utilities. We promise to remember the courage with which you have carried out your jobs, even after the pandemic comes under control.

Many of these countrymen and women are the intended beneficiaries of the Bayanihan Act programs such as the emergency subsidy, TUPAD, CAMP, grants for health workers, and assistance for farmers.

On the emergency subsidy, we support the suggestion of various groups for the government to waive the usual requirement for recipients to present government-issued IDs, which millions of our countrymen don’t possess. We support their call for alternative verification systems such as using local government and community groups to validate recipient lists and identities.

For the longer term, we support the government’s renewed effort to implement the Philippine ID System as envisioned by the Administration and intended by the PhilSys law. While this will take time, it will significantly improve the efficiency, transparency, and targeted delivery of public services — including similar subsidies in future crises — and strengthen financial inclusion of all sectors including workers.

Finally, we commend the President and Congress for the timely 2018 Social Security Act, which is providing unemployment benefits to Filipinos for the first time, and the Bayanihan Act’s wage subsidy program for MSMEs. We urge the government to consider extending the wage subsidy program to other companies, including educational institutions, who are affected by the suspension of classes, so that more workers can keep their jobs and provide for their families, ready to restart the economy in the challenging times ahead.