MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged the concerned national government agencies to assure the public that qualified beneficiaries affected by the country’s response against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) will receive financial and livelihood assistance.

Go made his call after President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday approved the release of PHP50.8 billion wage subsidy for middle-income workers affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to contain the spread of Covid-19.

He said the government must do its best to ensure that various programs are immediately implemented to benefit the affected sectors of society.

“Ito ang gusto ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Hindi naman lahat kayang pagbigyan… Pero sa maabot ng makakaya ng gobyerno ay gagawin n’ya po (This is what President Rodrigo Duterte would like to do. Not everyone will get but he will give what the government can do),” Go said.

He said the government’s priority are those most affected by the health crisis, including the middle class and small businesses.

In a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Cabinet Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) spokesperson Karlo Nograles said the wage subsidy program is expected to benefit 3.4 million workers of the 1.6 million small businesses which have ceased to operate due to the ECQ.

The wage subsidy program will be similar to the government’s PHP200-billion emergency subsidy program for 18- million low-income families.

Go, meanwhile, also thanked the private companies which have extended help to boost the country’s efforts in the fight against the virus.

“Kailangan natin magtulungan, kailangan natin makatawid sa problemang ito at malampasan ang krisis bilang isang nagkakaisang bansa (We need to help each other, we need to hurdle this problem and the crisis as united country),” Go said.

With gaps still needing to be filled up, Go then reiterated his appeal to the private sector, particularly big businesses, to help augment the assistance to the middle class by taking care of their respective employees and communities.

“This assistance prioritizes those at the bottom, the poorest, most vulnerable and the displaced. It trickles up as the government prepares assistance to SME (small- and medium-sized enterprises) as well,” the Senator said.

“It is thus my hope that those on top — the rich and the big businesses — will continue to meet us halfway by keeping on augmenting the aid coming from government as well as by taking care of their communities and employees,” he added. (PR)

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