BUTUAN CITY, June 5 (PIA) -- With an aim to help the struggling workers who are greatly affected by the community quarantine due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, more than 2,500 business owners in Caraga region have filed their application for the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program offered by the government.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue here in Caraga has already started early of May the evaluation of the applications of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that have complied with the requirements for SBWS and some have already benefitted from the kind of support.
It intends to provide assistance to an estimated 11,000 workers regionwide.
"What's important is their compliance with the Social Security System (SSS) and BIR which means they are registered members. As far as BIR is concerned, we did a verification of the filing of their tax returns, payment of taxes, filing of an annual alphabetical list of employees, and payment. Employers must have regularly paid the SSS remittances of the employees," said BIR-Revenue District Office No. 17 Director Jose Eric Furia.
According to Furia, qualified employees of eligible small businesses shall be given a wage subsidy of P5,000 for up to two months to help mitigate the impact of the quarantine.
"The employer should coordinate with the SSS, as the SSS will be the one to release the amount. We have to ensure the on-time release following a strict screening process," said Furia.
The joint memorandum of agreement of the Department of Finance, BIR and SSS disqualifies employees who work from home and those part of the skeleton workforce, as well as the employees on leave for the entire duration of the enhanced community quarantine, whether with or without pay.
Furia said that small businesses registered with the SSS and BIR which have no unpaid taxes or SSS contributions were given priority.
"This is really a big help for our employees, as it would at least aid in meeting their daily needs for food and other necessities such as medicine," said Felix Benolirao, proprietor of an air conditioner and refrigerator repair center.
The wage subsidy was released in two tranches. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)