The Department of Finance (DOF) urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to harness digital technology in building a database and payout system for the labor force to efficiently and swiftly deliver aid to workers needing assistance in times of crises.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the DOLE can learn from, and build on the success, of the automated Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program at the height of the pandemic last year.

Jointly implemented by the DOF, Social Security System and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the SBWS allowed the quick delivery of wage subsidies to more than three million employees with zero face-to-face contact with its beneficiaries in 2020.

This program, which combined the digital capacities of the three lead agencies, helped preserve jobs and incomes that would have otherwise been washed away by the global health crisis, and prevented many small business enterprises from laying off their workers.

“The program is instructive. It shows the potential of building databases and building payout systems in helping us improve our resiliency in the face of calamities—whether these come in the form of pandemics or severe weather events,” Dominguez said.

“With the completion of the National ID system, we should see the digitalization of government services and private sector transactions advance by leaps and bounds,” he added.

Dominguez, meanwhile, thanked the DOLE, led by Secretary Silvestre Bello III, “for being on the frontlines during the most difficult months of the pandemic, conserving jobs and fostering employment growth.’

“As we accelerate our recovery, I urge you to intensify your programs to help our workers cope with the pandemic and prepare them for the new labor demands of the digital economy,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the Duterte administration will “work hard until the very last minute of its term to contain the pandemic, fully reopen the economy, and deliver the best possible service for the Filipino people, especially for our workers.”

He said the government will rapidly modernize governance, accelerate the rollout of its infrastructure program, pursue economic liberalization bills in the Congress to bring dynamism to the domestic economy, and invest heavily in the workforce to take advantage of the country’s demographic sweet spot.

“We will ensure to leave behind a legacy of a dynamic and market-driven economy for the Filipino people,” Dominguez said.

He said the reforms instituted by the Duterte administration helped realize better economic and social outcomes for workers before the pandemic struck.

“In the long run, these infrastructure projects will create more employment opportunities as improved logistics system will reduce the cost of doing business and will help us attract more investors,” Dominguez said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (