The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) convened its Technical Working Group on Labor and Social Policy Issues (TWG LSPI) for a focus group discussion among industry associations with the Institute of Labor Studies (ILS), the policy and research arm of the Department of Labor and Employment, on 24 September 2020.
The ILS is conducting an exploratory study on a possible wage subsidy program. The study aims to contribute inputs and options to policymakers for a wage subsidy program and draws lessons for its implementation and future institutionalization based on different country experiences. The study is qualitative in nature, where existing literature and country experiences on various wage subsidy programs will be examined.
The objective of the FGD Is to gather insights from the private sector on the design, implementation, and feasibility of a wage subsidy program in the Philippine context. ILS is also set to conduct expert-interviews with other stakeholders.
Employer representatives present at the FGD include: Mr. Ernie Cecilia, co-chair of the ECOP TWG LSPI; Ms. Flordeliza Leong and Ms. Myrna Bituin of the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT); Ms. Raquel Bracero of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI); Atty. Eliseo Zuniga Jr. and Mr. LJ Lombos of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP); Ms. Geneva Frances C. Guyano of the Makati Business Club (MBC); Ms. Menchu Palma and Ms. Michelle Mendiola of Asia United Bank; Ms. Alma Pino of Knowles Electronics (Philippines) Corporation; and, Ms. Abigail Gorospe, Mr. Robert Maronilla, Ms. Marianne Faith Rosas, and Ms. Jhoyzel Nacisvalencia of the ECOP Secretariat.
Major points discussed were:
- The distinction of a wage subsidy program to a dole-out program, and the roles and responsibilities of employers in the program; if the objective of the program is to help industries, keep businesses afloat and preserve jobs, the program should be coursed through the businesses through its HR
- The wage subsidies implemented at the beginning of the pandemic posed the problem that the program is not inclusive as certain sectors are not qualified for the program or with issues on compliance
- There are other programs that can be implemented in place of a dole-out program that will benefit a larger group of people, stimulating the revival of the economy, in consideration as well of the limitations in resources of the government
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