UNITEAM senatorial candidate Herbert “Bistek” Bautista is proposing a one-year moratorium on realty taxes for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help revive these businesses which were worst hit by restrictions imposed to control the spread of coronavirus disease (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,” he said.

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, the senatorial bet identified MSMEs, most of which suffered a lot during lockdowns imposed amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as priority in his legislative work if he landed a 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 the government for BPOs to resume onsite work for their employees made sense.

“I’m okay with work from home,” added 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,” he also said.

Bautista stressed that his cousins are in call centers and they help move the economy, adding that 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,” Bautista said.

“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,” he pointed out. (PR)