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By: Mylen P. Manto | Published Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia calls on businesses to help their workers by releasing early the 13th month pay to help them cope with the mitigating measures imposed by government in relation to Covid-19. (Lito Tecson)

The Cebu Provincial Government requested Cebu business owners to release the 13th month pay of their employees now, if possible, and to shorten the work week as the province faces the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia expressed this appeal during a press conference on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
“Let this also be a plea. Akong hangyo sa dagkong negosyo nga sa karon palang, kaya ninyo makigkuyog sa gobyerno, tabangan ninyo inyong mga kaugalingong empleyado, kun mahimo i-advance ninyo ang 13th-month pay, i-advance ninyo,” she said.

“Let them (employees) work home or take their leaves with pay,” the governor added.

Garcia called for a multi-sectoral meeting attended by the DOLE, Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD), National Food Authority (NFA), Landbank, and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to address the situation of employees and small and medium enterprises.

The governor is well-aware of the effects of the pandemic to Cebu’s business community, tourism industry, and most especially the ordinary Cebuano laborers who are dependent to their daily wage. 

She shared that one resort owner from northern Cebu became emotional after suffering loss of income due to COVID-19 and the 30-day travel restrictions issued to the province’s airports and seaports.

“Ug akong ipaabot sa tanan nga naapektuhan, ang akong hangyo nga musabot sila kay gibuhat ni nato dili aron mo mag-antos but ato ni gibuhat tungod kay mismo ang inyung mga kinabuhi ang na risgo karun,” Garcia explained.

Garcia said she has to weigh everything and come up with a difficult decision with the inputs from different stakeholders. 

 “Unsa may unahon nako? Kinabuhi o ang tagsa-tagsa ka mga panginabuhi o negosyo.  Ang panginabuhi og negosyo kun kini madaot o mawala mahimo pa nato mapangitaan og pamaagi apan ang kinabuhi kon mawala na dili na gayud na mabalik pa,” she added.

Garcia assured the Cebuanos that she will look for ways to help them and will not stop to find for solutions, prioritizing those who are dependent to their daily wage. 

“Dili nako masulti og unsaun karon apan akong ipasalig ninyo nga dili ko muundang hangtod dili ko makakita og paagi nga matabangan mo,” she stated.

She appealed to everyone to not lose hope because the Cebu Provincial Government is working and doing its best to overcome this crisis. (Mylen Manto)