The labor department will review the proposal of various labor groups in providing a wage subsidy in the private sector considering the crippling effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday said the proposals of the labor groups for a wage subsidy are better rather than an increase in the salary of the workers because some employers might have difficulties sustaining it and eventually will lead to closure.

“If we receive a formal request from the labor groups, first, we will discuss this with the concerned government agencies and explore possibilities on how we can address this proposal. It will all depend on the capacity of the government,” Bello said.

Last week, various labor groups such as the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has called the attention of the government to provide workers with wage subsidies amid the economic decline of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will have an in-depth consultation with other agencies of the government especially for those who will shoulder the expenses of the subsidy such as the [Departments of] Finance, Trade and Industry, and NEDA. We need to know if the government can shoulder all of this because we are talking about millions of workers,” he added.

Bello said he submitted a wage subsidy proposal on the said agencies so that existing workforce can be possibly retained and job terminations can be prevented.

“In our project proposal before, we recommended a P20 billion-peso wage subsidy for the employers, however, it was declined,” Bello said.

On the other hand, he expressed optimism that the Philippine economy will soon regain its strength and the strong trade on businesses will be back to normal.

“We will find a way to address this problem if it’s a wage subsidy or an adjustment. My colleagues in the government are very hopeful with a projection that business will grow soon because when we have good business then we have good employment status.