Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said 85 out of every 100 Filipino families were covered by P256 billion in government subsidy programs for sectors most vulnerable to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said state subsidies covered some 18 million poor and low-income households that survived mainly on the informal economy’s “no-work, no-pay” set-up.

According to the DOF, the figure accounted for about 75 percent of all Filipino families, who are bound to receive cash grants totaling P205 billion.

Moreover, 3.4 million workers in the formal sector and employed in small businesses will receive wage subsidies in the combined amount of P51 billion.

The subsidy programs will last for two months.

“What are not covered are families whose members are working for large business, in particular the top 2,745 firms, and families whose members are working for the government, both national and local.  They comprise the remaining 15 percent of families,” Dominguez said in a television interview.

The wage subsidies that will be extended to affected workers range from P5,000 to P8,000 a month for two months depending on the regions where the workers were employed.

“A few weeks ago, we began distributing the largest social program in the country’s history, a P205-billion social amelioration program for informal sector families,” Dominguez added.

He also said the government had recognized that providing a lifeline for small businesses and their employees was critical to keeping the family afloat.

The government has also required longer grace periods for rental payments and loans to ease the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to individuals and businesses. (Melo M. Acuña)