Senatorial aspirant Francis “Chiz” Escudero is pushing for support for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as a means to ensure the country’s recovery from the pandemic.

Visiting Palawan on Saturday, Escudero said that loan windows must also be opened through private banks and there must be laws similar to rent control laws for the benefit of MSMEs while the economy is slowly opening.

“Dapat magpasa ng panukala na magbibigay ng loan window, hindi lang LandBank at DBP pero pati mga pribadong bangko na dapat ipahiram sa MSMEs dahil anim na porsyento lang ang interest nyan, napakababa. Pangalawa magpasa ng batas similar sa rent control law– pwede gawin sa MSMEs din,” he said.

“Pansweldo ng empleyado nila sa loob ng anim na buwan, kung kailangan hanggang isang taon. Para lugi man ang negosyo, mananatili pa rin ang mga trabahador, hindi kailangan alisin–Pang-apat, ito na yong ginawa sa ibang bansa, kopyahin na lang natin. Binigyan nila ng palugit ang mga MSMEs sa pagbabayad ng buwis. Lokal man o national,” he added.

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There must be subsidies given to MSMEs to provide salaries for their employees, as many of these enterprises have fewer than 10 employees.

Citing his experience as governor, Escudero stressed that the coverage of local government unit power must be widened so it can make decisions on its own, such as alert level implementation.

“Mas alam at kabisado namin (LGU) kung ano ang kailangan gawin. Mas dapat ibigay sa amin ang responsibilidad na ‘yon. Halal kami, accountable kami sa aming mga kababayan, sila ay appointed lang. Magkamali man sila, sa amin o sa ibang lugar, wala naman silang pananagutan sa amin. Mas nais ko na palawakin ang kapangyarihan at Karapatan ng LGU. Kabilang na ang pagtalaga ng alert levels,” he said.

He proposed an increase in funds in the agriculture department to reduce the importation of agricultural products. He also plans to pass legislation like what they have done in Sorsogon, partnering with cellular companies to build a tower on which payment will be given to LGU in 10 years.

Escudero also shared sentiments with the presidential candidate, Leody de Guzman, that policies and laws in the country are mostly in favor of the rich.

He also criticized the process undertaken in Malampaya and stressed that there was a need to find new wells as the existing wells were now running out.

“Ang Malampaya, kailangan pumasok ng panibagong kontrata ang gobyerno na naman si Shell. Ang problema, ang kasunduan yan ay ganito, pag mag-invest uli ang Shell, gumastos uli, wala siyang bibigay na royalty sa gobyerno. O kita sa gobyerno hanggang mabawi niya ang nagastos na naman niya,” he said.

“Mali naman kasi ang ginawa diyan. In any gas field, there is always oil. But usually, they use the gas and the pressure from the gas to bring out the oil. Unang kinuha ang gas so ngayon ang langis na nakabaon diyan, sobrang mahal para makuha mo at wala kang teknolohiyang abot-kayang halaga para makuha ang langis—yong karagdagan expansion of capacity diyan, kailangan exploration na naman ang Shell. Ano man ang gagastusin nila, sa kanila muna mapupunta at walang ibabayad sa gobyerno,” he added.

Despite the support received from Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Ping Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte, Escudero remained silent on his presidential candidate to be supported in the upcoming election.

“Yes, for the meantime—because I am the only one running for the senate as an incumbent governor. Gusto ko bilang ama ng lalawigan, makilala ng aming mga kababayan lahat ng tumatakbo sa pagkapresidente, makapili sila ng walang pressure mula kanino lalong-lalo na galing sa gobernador nila. Kapag nagampanan ko na ang tungkulin na iyan, doon marahil ako magpapasya, mag-aanunsyo, mag-i-endorso,” he said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.