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Senatorial candidate Herbert “Bistek” Bautista is proposing a one-year moratorium on realty taxes for micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) to help revive these businesses which were worst hit by restrictions imposed to control the spread of COVID-19. “If you’re just reopening, you can be given incentives, like a one-year moratorium on paying real property tax Or they can be given a 50-percent discount,” said Bautista.

Bautista earlier estimated that up to 96 percent of jobs being created in the Philippines are those from MSMEs. “So helping these businesses get back on their feet means also helping our people find jobs,” said Bautista, who is running on a platform of Internet reform, Livelihood for all and Youth development, or ILY, ang Pagkain para sa Pamilyang Pilipino.

In an earlier statement, Bautista identified MSMEs, most of which suffered a lot during lockdowns imposed to prevent the spread of the COVID virus, as priority in his legislative work if he landed a Senate seat as these homegrown businesses are the lifeblood of the Philippine economy. Bautista said MSME operations are interconnected with other Philippine industries, particularly business process outsourcing (BPO), or call centers. That’s why, Bautista said, the order by government for BPOs to resume onsite work for their employees made sense. “I’m okay with work from home,” said Bautista, a former three-term mayor of Quezon City. “There are those who work at home and those who work in factories or buildings and offices especially in the BPO industry.” “But let’s take a look at the intention of the government in asking call center agents to return to onsite work,” Bautista said. “My cousins are in call centers and they help move the economy,” he said.

The order for a return to onsite work for the BPO industry was similar to the objective of bringing back face-to-face classes for schools. “If students attend class physically, their moms would buy food for them at the market then the students go to school,” said Bautista. “Teachers would also go to school and ride jeepneys or tricycles. The tricycle or jeepney driver would earn money and buy food at the market, too, for his family. That’s how the economy turns,” he added.

MSMEs are a crucial component of this economic cycle, according to Bautista, but were the hardest hit financially at the height of the pandemic in the Philippines. “These enterprises need not only aid, but our complete support,” said Bautista. #


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