Pres'l adviser urges gov't to lend to businesses for 13th month pay

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 01 2021 01:04 PM | Updated as of Nov 01 2021 01:08 PM

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MANILA - Government should lend business owners money so they can give their employees their proportionate 13th month pay, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said Monday.

In an interview with ANC's Headstart, Concepcion said he does not know how businesses can get the 13th month salary waived, so it would be best for the government to open this credit line.

He said many establishments that were forced shut by the pandemic cannot be faulted for struggling to come up with revenue to give their employees the mandatory payout. This also comes on top of other obligations, such as loan payments. 

"This is a financial challenge for many and I think government, I was told, DTI is looking at lending these business establishments to help them pay the 13th month pay, which is going to be good. I think the government should provide credit access to those business establishments that need money to pay these obligations like the 13th month pay," he said.

He was referring to the program of the Department of Trade and Industry, through its financing arm, Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), that will create a lending facility to assist micro, small, and medium enterprises in providing the 13th month salary of their workers.

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Concepcion also said Alert Level 2 by November 15 is necessary to help lift the economy in the last quarter of the year.

Concepcion said he had expected the downgrade as the tally of cases in Metro Manila is going down "very fast," but he understood that the government is trying to be "a bit more conservative" by keeping the region under Alert Level 3 from November 1 to 14.

"But by November 15, there is no way but we have to drop this to Alert Level 2 to really allow more businesses to make money," he said.

"If they don’t profit, they will not be able to recoup their losses over this last year and how will they move towards 2022 if they are financially incapable?" he added.

Concepcion, also the founder of Go Negosyo, said in his own line of business, the last quarter of the year is "huge" as it accounts for 35 to 40 percent of sales.

He said the quarantine easing would especially help businesses who were allowed to open to fully vaccinated clients, such as restaurants, salons, spas, gyms, and amusement parks.

"What we really give them is the confidence and hope moving to 2022. So when you have the confidence and hope, then you will really have more passion to try to survive because at this current condition, many of the business people, especially the small ones, are having the most difficult time," he said.