HR Talk: How to Apply for Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA), Temporary Closure, Retrenchment and Permanent Closure

According to DOLE Labor Advisory No. 9, Series of 2020, Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements as Remedial Measure due to the Ongoing Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019, employers are encouraged to pursue flexible work arrangements so that companies can do social distancing, save cash flow and ensure continuity in case one of our employees tests positive.

Flexible work arrangements

For more details on how the FWA will proceed, I look into Labor Advisory No. 2, Series of 2009, Guidelines on the Adoption of Flexible Work Arrangements:


How to Apply for Flexible Work Arrangement, Temporary Closure, Retrench or Permanent Closure?

WARNING: Never do a Flexible Work Arrangement, Temporary Closure, Retrenchment or Permanent Closure WITHOUT informing DOLE first.

If you will be doing a Flexible Work Arrangement or Laying Off People, please ensure that you inform the DOLE Office closest you ASAP. Here’s the process:

  1. Accomplish the new RKS Form 5 Establishment Report form in two copies when filing a notice of: a) Flexible Work Arrangement; b) Temporary Closure; c) Retrenchment or Reduction of Workforce; or d) Permanent Closure.

IMPORTANT: For FWA, you have to inform ASAP. Prudently, it has to be SEVEN (7) days before you start your FWA. For Retrenchment or Permanent Closure, please inform DOLE and the staff 30 DAYS before their last day.

The report is considered as duly filed when the complete list of workers affected is made part of the submission. Fields with   asterisks (*) should be accomplished by the company representative.

  1. This form should be submitted to the DOLE Provincial/Field Office as soon as possible in the case of adoption of flexible work arrangement or temporary closure.

2.1. For establishments that will retrench or permanently close, the form should be submitted 30 days prior to the effectivity of termination.

  1. Page 1 should contain general information about the establishment and the number of workers affected.
  2. Page 3 should enumerate the names of workers affected, their addresses and contact numbers, position title and salary.

Total number of workers listed should equal the total number of workers affected as reported in this page.

DOLE has released a new RKS Form 5 Establishment Report last June 1, 2020. It looks like this:

RKS Form 1RKS Form 2RKS Form 3Download Form: Revised Establishment Report Form

For email addresses, here’s the details from the DOLE website:


CAMANAVA Field Office (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela)

Address: 5/F Araneta Square Center, Monumento Circle, Caloocan City

Tel. No: (02) 8282-1842, (02) 8283-5044

Telefax: (02) 8367-3188



Makati & Pasay Field Office

Address: 2/F, ECC Building, Sen Gil Puyat Avenue Extension, Makati City

Tel. No: (02) 8772-8210, (02) 8800-7211

Telefax: (02) 8800-7211, (02) 8336-5062



Manila Field Office

Address: 4/F DY International Bldg., 1650 General Malvar corner San Marcelino, Malate, Manila

Tel. No: (02) 8244-1532, (02) 8244-1318

Telefax: (02) 5302-9269, (02) 5302-9270



MUNTAPARLAS Field Office (Muntinlupa, Taguig, Parañaque, Las Piñas)

Address: 3/F No. 263 Valenzuela Building Alabang-Zapote Road Pamplona, Las Piñas City

Tel. No: (02) 8815-0086, (02) 8808-6165

Telefax: (02) 8808-0422



PAPAMAMARISAN Field Office (Pasig, Pateros, Mandaluyong, Marikina, San Juan)

Address: 4/F Rudgen Bldg. II, 317 Shaw. Blvd., Pasig City

Tel. No: (02) 8477-3630

Telefax: (02) 8534-3893



Quezon City Field Office

Address: 4/F Arcadia Bldg. Quezon Avenue, Quezon City

Tel. No: (02) 8921-4973

Telefax: (02) 8376-5983


(Updated as of 11 November 2019)

For other DOLE offices, please Google the DOLE branch closest you.


There’s no deadline as of now, but please send ASAP. So far, DOLE is accepting all forms online. We have tried to submit in the head office but was turned away. They asked us to email the forms instead. Oh well.

Our office has also printed out and attached Labor Advisory No, 9, Series of 2020 on the visible place in the office as per instruction:

Labor Advisory No. 9 2

Labor Advisory No. 09

Retrenchments and Permanent Closure

For Retrenchments, the company must make sure they they follow proper procedure and inform DOLE and the staff 30 days before. Use this form again:RKS Form 1RKS Form 2RKS Form 3Download Form: Revised Establishment Report Form

If you’re going to do Retrenchment, please ensure that you have proof that the company is losing money. Hindi pwedeng laway lang na losing money ha.  

To reiterate, a company CAN and SHOULD terminate your employment for any Just and Authorized Causes as prescribed by the Labor Code so long as there’s really an offense and the company follows due process in firing you. Here are the difference between Just and Authorized Causes:

Just or Authorized Cause for Termination

In Tagalog:

Ngunit alam

You need to know WHY you were terminated. Both Just and Authorized Causes are allowed during ECQ under the following conditions:

  • Just Causes: There must be a valid offense, Twin notice rule and proper due process are followed.
  • Authorized Causes: Company has reported to DOLE that they will cut people, 30 days notice, and payment of severance pay.  Severance pay as follows:

Separation Pay

If you are terminated using the Just and Authorized Causes WITH PROPER DUE PROCESS, wala kang laban sa DOLE.

It’s very clear in Article 298, Authorized Causes of Termination —- For termination due to retrenchment or closure/cessation of operation its one month pay or 1/2 month pay for every year of service whichever is higher.

This is also mentioned in DO 174 series of 2015. The separation pay should never be less than 1 month pay which means 30 working days pay. Lastly, the same is stated in Workers Statutory Financial Benefits Handbook released by DOLE-BLC.

The half month pay per year of service (minimum of 1 month) if the Termination is caused by:

  • Retrenchment to prevent losses
  • Closure of an Establishment not due to Serious Losses (In other words, sinarado lang ang company), or
  • If the Employee is suffering from a disease not curable within the 6 month period.

Half month lang po yan. Hindi full month.

Separation pay may NOT be as big as you think.

So Sir Richard DeDios gave this calculation of the severance of a 22-month tenured employee:

“Ang 22 months is equivalent to 2 years tenure by virtue of the provision that a fraction of 6 months or more is considered 1 year.

Then said employee is only entitled to 1 month separation pay (1/2 per year of service x 2 years). The minimum 1 month applies to those with less than 1.5 years of tenure since they will only be entitled to 1/2 month pay if the entitlement is 1/2 month per year of service”

In short:

1 mo – 2 yrs 5 mos = 1 month pay

2 yrs 6 mos – 3 yrs 5 mos = 1.5 months pay

3 yrs 6 mos – 4 yrs 5 mos = 2 months pay

4 yrs 6 mos – 5 yrs 5 mos = 2.5 months pay

Thank you Sir Richard! ❤️

Full month per year of service naman if pinalitan ka ng machine, or they cut your position, or they can’t reinstate you to your previous position and it’s not the fault of you employer. Once again, here’s the table from NLRC:

Separation Pay

Under the Tax Code of the Philippines, separation fees and benefits in the Philippines are exempted from income tax, and consequently, withholding taxes on compensation for separations from employment because of death, sickness or other physical disability or any other causes beyond employee’s control.

While Retrenchment is a company prerogative, the addendum here is that The losses have to be PROVEN, and there is compliance with the Legal Procedure for Retrenchment:

Compliance with the Legal Procedure for Retrenchment

In order to legally retrench employees, the following must be followed:

(1) Retrenchment is undertaken to prevent losses, which are not merely de minimis, but substantial, serious, actual, and real, or if only expected, are reasonably imminent as perceived objectively and in good faith by the employer;

(2) The employer serves written notices both to the employees and the DOLE at least one month prior to the intended date of retrenchment;

(3) The employer pays the retrenched employees separation pay equivalent to one month pay or at least ½ month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher;

(4) The employer must use fair and reasonable criteria in ascertaining who would be dismissed and retained among the employees; and

(5) The retrenchment must be undertaken in good faith [Ariola v. Philex Mining Corporation (G.R. No. 147756, 09 August  2005)].

Do you get separation pay if you voluntarily resigned?

Unless your boss is super nice, you get ZERO separation pay if the resignation was voluntary. Even if you worked for 25 years, if you resign, your employer is NOT obliged to give you any separation pay UNLESS there was a prior agreement that they would give you one.


“Thus, the elementary rule is that an employee who voluntarily resigns from employment is not entitled to separation pay, except when it is stipulated in the employment contract or Collective Bargaining Agreement or based on established employer practice in the company.”

Payment of Separation Pay should be with Final Pay

If Retrenched or Made Redundant, add Separation Pay to the Final Pay.

FINAL PAY = Unpaid Wages + Pro-Rata 13th Month + Any Liabilities or Benefits promised if Any + Separation Pay if Any

Give this amount to the Employee in exchange for a Quitclaim and Signing of Voucher. Palitan yan para there’s no misunderstandings. No Quitclaim, no release of final pay.

Other Forms Available

Return to Work Establishment Report Form


  1. Accomplish this form in two copies when filing a notice of return to work. The report is considered as duly filed when the complete list of workers affected is made part of the submission. Fields with  asterisks (*) should be accomplished by the company representative.
  1. Page 2 shall enumerate the list of the affected workers and their profile.
  2. This form should be submitted to the DOLE Provincial/Field Office as soon as possible. In the event of the implementation of FWA, TC, or retrenchment, the establishment shall accomplish and submit the RKS Form 5 2020.


Downloadable: Return to Work Establishment Form

Work Accident Form

There’s several pages on this form. Please download the DOLE-BQF-WAIR-with-COVID_final here:


Hope this helps. Good luck!


Posted in Business, Employee Relations, entrepreneurship, How to Manage People, Human Resources (HR), money, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Business Talk: Which S.O.B. Are You?

A Millenial son of a successful tycoon shared his frustration on working in his father’s successful business.


The business has been there over the last 30 years, and has grown in size. Due to its age and the father’s management skills, the business churns out income from regular customers. Many of the staff has been working for the father from the very beginning, and are at least in their 40s.

After his graduation, the son worked in the family business. Having gone to excellent schools in Manila, he was bustling with ideas on how to “modernize” the company. He wanted to bring the operations to the digital age, and was excited on how to make business operations smoother and better.

Two years after, the son is still working in the family business but is frustrated that his father doesn’t really listen to his ideas. None of his ideas were executed. And his father’s people still follow the father’s instructions. If he wants them to do something, they would still double check with the father if they are to prioritize the son’s projects. Given this, the son is wondering whether he is banging his head on the wall. If his work in his father’s business is futile, maybe he should just work for somebody else OR do his own business.


Which S.O.B. Are You?

When he was relating his story, I thought there were some gaps to his story to the reality presented to him. For one, he was a newbie in his father’s business. So a little grass foot. At 2 years, a person still has not mastered how to run the business from top to bottom. If someone tries to insist his way without understanding the whole operations, it would be disastrous for everyone else.

To be successful in running a family business, you need to remove yourself from the position of SON OF BOSS (S.O.B. #1). Workers should not just follow you because of who your daddy or in-laws are, but rather because you’ve earned your wings and they want to work for you.

If you did not earn your right to manage yet, if you still continue to give unreasonable instructions, many disgruntled employees will call you a SON OF A BITCH (S.O.B. #2) behind your back.

DISCLAIMER: No offense to your mother ha. This is just a way employees talk and complain about a manager who they have to follow, but they think don’t know what he is doing.  This is what employees usually call people na nagmamagaling pero hindi naman magaling.

However, if you are a good manager, very hard working, fair and dependable, everyone — from the workers to your dad — would think of you as worthy to manage over them. Only then would you be the last SOB — the SUCCESSOR OF BOSS (S.O.B. #3), who everybody wants to be.

father and son

What are some Practical Tips to be from Son of Boss (SOB # 1) to Successor of Boss (SOB # 3)? 

1. Earn Respect First

Show parents your worth. Ideas are nothing without proper execution. Don’t just nag them. Do something to make your ideas real. Diskarte lang.

For example, I wanted to “do something” for my inlaws. So I segway. Their business is at 25 years old at that time, and they are still using an outdated inventory program. I know a friend who did coding, but he charged Php 70,0000 to Php 100,000 for it. I knew that price was reasonable, but how can I get my in-laws to upgrade and pay that amount of money?

I went through my husband’s business. My husband‘s business is 12 years old and still used Excel as his inventory system. 12 years na, no system pa din.

Instead of yakking at everyone, I “gifted” my husband’s business the inventory system for birthday and Christmas. Out of my own money.


When he saw how well it worked, I made sure I plugged that idea in into our dinner time conversation. I showed my excitement on how the program worked.

When my Parents-in-Law system died, they called me up. “Tina, do you still have the contact of the programmer you used for (Husband Name’s) system?”

I happily helped and made sure the system was done in a very smooth way. When their people and them saw how stable it was and how well it worked, my parents-in-law was happy. I was able to solve their problem without yakking about it unnecessarily.

Now, they always ask me for help and advice. They know that I’m capable of providing solutions when they need it. Ganoon lang ang pa impress kay big Boss. Hanap lang ng diskarte.

Everyone wins.

2. Show the subordinates your worth.

Do not just be the SOB (Son of boss). Prove yourself worthy as the successor of boss.


By being the go-to person who’s hands on in business. As in, pag nawala ka, patay na sila. If you are dispensable, then you have to pivot and be indispensable.

Earning respect of subordinates is also key.

Pinoys call it pakikisama. The biggest lesson I learned working in the Philippines is you need to know how to talk to people to get them to do what you want. If you order them around, you’re just the SOB. But if you are firm but fair, magaling pero humble, you become the Successor of Boss.

If you mentor them and help them do their job better AND GIVE RESULTS, they will see you as a leader. Otherwise, you’re just talk.

3. Prove yourself to be worthy to yourself.

You have to be honest with yourself. Are you really worthy to be the successor of a business? Did you earn your wings to manage the family’s business operations?

Ask yourself very honesty, so far, what’s your contribution to the business? Are there any improvement ? Did you help change the business? May results ba? Yes, I know it’s hard, but that’s our job, to make the business better.

Self reflection time: Only be judgmental if you’re the hardest working person in the busines. I work longer, do more stuff, and solve more problems. I don’t order my staff around; they see me doing it myself.

Last August 2019, I miscarried. After my D&C, I still went to work the day after. Upon seeing me in the office, my people forced me to go on maternity leave. Pinauwi nila ako. They asked me to go home. And they refused to move and work unless I go home because I needed the rest. One supervisor cried begging me to go home. Honestly, I was very touched.


My point is, dapat ang reputation mo, pinakamasipag ka.

You have to make the business your heart, mind and soul. You have to bear responsibility for your employees and their families. You have to really see that the business is the extension of you, and you cannot live without the business.

The business is more than a job. If you’re just like a Millenial 20 something who thinks this is just a job, it won’t work. You can’t half heart a family business.

Think of the business as a ship, and the owner the captain who steers it. All of the employees depend on the captain to steer the business to the right direction. Their families and livelihood is at stake.


Don’t blame the company if it’s not growing. It’s the father’s job to the best of his ability. It’s the son’s job to ensure it grows to the best of his ability.

As heir apparent, we should think of ways to make the business grow. Make sure everyone thinks that you’re so awesome, you become the second in command without anyone saying anything.

So prove your worth first.

The rest should follow.

Posted in Advice, Business, children, Dad's Advice, Employee Relations, entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, Finance, Human Resources (HR), Kid Problems, Life lessons, Lists, Philippines, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The GCQ Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before You Open on June 1, 2020

Are You Ready To Operate on June 1, 2020?

Today, the President officially announced that from June 1, NCR, Davao City, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Pangasinan, and Albay, will now enter General Community Quarantine (GCQ). The other regions of the country will be under Modified GCQ, which is a looser version of GCQ.

Limited Transportation Under GCQ

Under GCQ, public transport will open albeit a limited capacity. The only ones that are allowed to operate are the MRT, LRT, private shuttles, taxis, Grab Car, tricycles, bicycles, and P2P buses. As of today, buses and jeeps are still not allowed to operate under GCQ. This means unless the government changes its policy, the first few days of GCQ will be on a total shit show for one plain reason — Bottlenecks:

Image Source: DSport

Ever see a bottle neck? This is what it looks like. Everyone will be crowding to find public transport to get to where they want to be. But given the limited number of public transport available, it’s going to be a mess of epic proportions.

The best way is to do GCQ and allow buses and jeeps to operate, albeit on an organized manner following strict social distancing protocol. Help the buses and jeeps practice Social Distancing by placing No Sitting Stickers on the seats.

The 12″x 12″ stickers I bought only cost Php 90 a piece from Jonathan Lee for a minimum of 4 pieces. Stick them on the seats you want unoccupied.  Then ensure that the MMDA checks that these seats with stickers remain unoccupied.

#problem solved

But I digress…. I am not the government. If I am to wait for them to screw up first then learn that banning jeeps and buses are really not a great way to practice social distancing, so be it.

Instead, this post is more for useful things. Like how do you prepare your business when opening for GCQ. Are you sure you are ready? Here’s a simple checklist to prepare your workplace for GCQ:

  1. Read the DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 very carefully.
  2. Call your local barangay and city hall and to check that your company fulfills all LGU requirements so you can operate in peace.
  3. Make sure that all your staff are covered by SSS and Philhealth.
  4. To ensure social distancing, a 1-meter radius space must be maintained between workers.
  5. If you are going to do Flexible-Work Arrangement or WFH for some/all of your staff, make sure you inform DOLE seven (7) days BEFORE the start of the FWA
  6. Print the Visitor’s Health Questionnaire and Have Every Employee Visitor Answer It. Make sure you submit to DOLE the DOLE Work Accident/Illness Report Form every month.
  7. Buy an Infrared Thermometer and Check Every Guest’s Temperature upon Entering the Office.
  8. Employer has to provide staff with face masks, soap, and other equipment needed to keep the workplace safe. DO NOT CHARGE for them.
  9. Disinfect the Office Regularly. 
  10. Know and Follow the Health Protocols When One of Your Staff is a Suspected COVID-19 Patient.

Here are 10 Things You Must Prepare When You Open Your Business for GCQ:

1. Read  the DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 very carefully.

This will be your bible in operating a company during MECQ, GCQ and MGCQ. It’s only 8 pages and very easy to read. Kindly read carefully all the rules and regulations, and ensure that you follow their rules.

DOLE DTI GuidelinesSource: DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19

If the company follows all the policies stated in this guidelines, the company can operate without fear of repercussion and will be saved from staff complains that the workplace is unsafe.  It won’t — because the company is following all safety protocol.

2. Call your local barangay and city hall and to check that your company fulfills all LGU requirements so you can operate in peace.

Last MECQ, the following NCR municipalities had strict requirements for business to operate. Paranaque insisted on testing all employees before they were allowed to report to work. Caloocan had the following requirements for businesses deciding to open during MECQ:


Just last May 28, a barangay in Pampanga posted the following requirements for a travel pass:

Every locality has their own rules and regulations. If you do not submit the requirements, the LGU will not allow your business to open. To be safe, check with your local barangay and city hall to see if they have any other requirements before you open. If there is any, it is always prudent to follow.

For example, some barangays/municipalities still require a Certificate of Employment and Company ID. So we provided our staff with COE with the company letterhead:


3. Make sure that all your staff are covered by SSS and Philhealth ASAP.

The law is clear — Hospitalization benefits will be borne by the SSS and Philhealth PROVIDED that the worker has existing SSS and Philhealth. In the event that the staff is not covered by SSS and Philhealth, the employer must “shoulder all medical services until full recovery.


Source: Labor Advisory No. 4

The coverage they will get are as follows:

SSS and Philhealth

If I were you, I would definitely enroll all your staff to SSS and Philhealth if you don’t have any yet. Deadline for SSS is on June 1, 2020:


Here’s how:


4. To ensure social distancing, a 1-meter radius space must be maintained between workers.

Even as employees work, eat, and interact together, a 1-meter radius space should be maintained between each worker. This is stated very clear in the DOLE DTI Health Guidelines as follows:

1 meter apart

Source: DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19

The problem is, our office is tight. At full capacity, the office is full. Everyone is seated right next to each other, happily chitchatting and working together. Unfortunately, the DOLE guidelines request that businesses operate at 50% capacity to ensure proper social distacing and COVID-19 prevention.

Because of this, we are forced to cut everybody’s work days by half so that at any given time, only 50% of the workforce can come in and everyone has one seat apart in between each other:

theater-going-seat-apart-1588852313Image Source: Spot PH

We have also bought Social Distancing Stickers (12″ x 12″) to ensure that everyone stays in their place and nobody sits together. For your reference, I got ours from my good friend Jonathan Lee for Php 90.00:

We call each room in an office a CLUSTER. Every employee working in that room is part of that CLUSTER. For the company to maintain social distancing given that the room is full when operating at 100% capacity, we have halved the room to two teams:

  • Team A: Comes in on M, W, F
  • Team B: Comes in on T, TH, Sun

We have halved Saturday into two by ensuring that Team A reports in the office in the morning before going out on field in the afternoon. Team B goes out on field in the morning and reports in the afternoon. This ensures that the office is operating at 50% capacity at all times. We are working on Sunday to ensure that every one of our staff get to come in at 4 days a week, instead of 6. We have applied to do a Flexible-Work Arrangement with DOLE to ensure that this is possible.

5. If you are going to do Flexible-Work Arrangement or WFH for some/all of your staff, make sure you inform DOLE seven (7) days BEFORE the start of the FWA:

According to DOLE Labor Advisory No. 17 Series of 2020, Guidelines on Employment Preservation Upon Resumption of Business Operation, WFH, Telecommuting Arrangements and/or Flexible Work Arrangements are options you can select for your company to preserve jobs:  

Labor Advisory No. 17

Source: DOLE Labor Advisory No. 17 Series of 2020, Guidelines on Employment Preservation Upon Resumption of Business Operation

Here are the other FWA arrangements a company can consider and how DOLE defines them:

Definition of FWA TermsSource:

The only condition is that if you’re going to do an FWA, you need to fill up the 1) Establishment Report on COVID-19, 2) Submit it to closest DOLE Regional Office which has jurisdiction over the workplace as soon as possible, and 3) Post a Copy of Labor Advisory No. 9, Series of 2020 in a visible area in the workplace.

To submit the Establishment Report on COVID-19, you can initially do it first via email, but you have to follow it up with two (2) sets of hard copy that needs to be stamped in the DOLE offices. Do so within seven (7) days as per instruction:

Establishment Report

The Establishment Report on COVID-19 looks like this. Yes, it’s the same form we submitted to DOLE for DOLE CAMP:


Download the Word Version ER-COVID19-Monitoring-Form HERE.

Make sure you print two hard copies and have it stamped at the DOLE branch closest your office.

Finally, make sure you print a copy and post this 2-page Labor Advisory No. 9, Series of 2020: Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements as Remedial Measure due to the Ongoin Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a conspicuous location in workplace:

Labor Advisory No. 09Labor Advisory No. 096. Print the Visitor’s Health Questionnaire and Have Every Employee Visitor Answer It. Make sure you submit to DOLE the DOLE Work Accident/Illness Report Form every month.

This is our questionnaire — It has the EXACT same questions (with a little additions) to the questionnaire DOLE provided. I changed the format to two in a page to save paper and printing costs. Feel free to edit or print this questionnaire for your own use. However, if you will edit it to share to others, please credit me.

Visitor’s Health Checklist

Visitors Checklist
Downloadable Form Here: VISITOR’S HEALTH CHECKLIST – General.

For our printing needs, we use this supplier. They are a small business, and I find their rates to be reasonable. It’s better than using the office printer to print hundreds of questionnaires:

Make sure you copy furnish DOLE a monthly report using the DOLE Work Accident/Illness Report Form.

7. Buy an Infrared Thermometer and Check Every Guest’s Temperature upon Entering the Office.

Following this rule from the DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19, all employers and workers shall have their temperature checked and recorded in the health symptoms questionnaire:

Check Temperature

For practical reasons, we bought our Infrared Thermometers from Lazada (Php 1,390) from Lazada. Market price for thermometers cost at least Php 2,500. Our thermometer works very well but takes 2 weeks to ship from China to Manila:

Infrared Thermomenter

Here’s the protocol for temperature testing:


As an added bonus, we will ask the staff to fill up the Daily Temperature Check Form so that our office has a good summary of the staff’s temperature per day. Here’s our form to share:

Daily Temperature Check
Downloadable PDF: Temperature Health Check – General

If your staff has a fever, please do not ask your staff to report to work. Be very conscious of this rule. If the staff is sick, have him stay at home. But make sure to ask him to submit a medical certificate to ensure that

COVID Testing2

8. Employer has to provide staff with face masks, soap, and other equipment needed to keep the workplace safe. DO NOT CHARGE for them.

The guidelines are pretty lenient about where you source your COVID-19 prevention materials.


If you have an agency, it is the principal who must be charged this expense, NOT the agency or the contractor. While it is up to you to source and buy the materials, if you you do buy it for them, you are NOT allowed to charge your staff for these:

LA 18
Source: Labor Advisory No. 18, Series of 2020: Guidelines on the Cost of COVID-19 Prevention and Control Measures

9. Disinfect the Room Regularly.

The rules require regular disinfecting of the room, the door knob and handles, and to ensure that sanitizers are available where workers pass.


We bought our disinfectants from NUDE Handmade Essentials. Mind you, we are NOT affiliated with them, but I found their bleach to be reasonably priced especially since I could not get any from Lazada as it was out of stock. We also bought from them hand soap, alcohol and spray bottle for our stores’ use:

Nude Essentials

The cheapest quotation I got for misting was from our building’s pest control team. They were charging us Php 1,500 inclusive of VAT for a one-time misting of disinfectant. We are thinking of doing this once a week just to see if it’s effective:


10. Lastly, Follow Strict Health Protocols when You Have a Suspected COVID-19 Patient

Please be aware of the following protocol when one of your staff is a suspected COVID-19 patient:

COVID positive

You have to isolate them in a well-ventilated place. A clinic personnel must be there wearing appropriate PPE and will transport the person to the nearest hospital. The hospital will report to DOH that you have a COVID-19 patient.

If positive, everyone present that day shall be placed on 14 day observation and quarantine. If it’s negative, everyone may be allowed to go back to work:



If you are mindful of all these things and follow the minimum health guidelines, congratulations! You can now operate your business during GCQ:

Labor Advisory No. 17

In general, here’s the things we bought for our company. Mind you, we are also customers ha. We bought our stuff at full price. But I felt that the prices were reasonable and many of them are small businesses, which is why I am sharing these with you:


Thanks for reading. And if I missed anything, please let me know. Good luck to all of us on June 1, 2020!



Posted in Business, covid-19, Employee Relations, entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, Finance, money, Personal opinion, Philippines, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Super Intelligence: Inspire your Marketing by Salvador “Salvarock” Lopez

Designing your Customer’s Emotions in the Key of Rock

Is Marketing more of an art or a science?

Marketing is more of an art with strategy.

Some of the biggest businesses in the world got there by intuition. Musicians work with emotions. 95% of all human decisions are taken in the realm of the unconscious mind.

As adults, we are supposed to be rational. But most of our decisions are made with our hearts. The 5% rationally are used to justify our decisions.

This is the wheel of emotions:

  • Anticipation: Apple, Tesla
  • Joy: Disney, Coca-Cola. About making people feel it.
  • Trust: ING Bank
  • Fear: UV Care, Security Companies, Scary movies, heavy metal music
  • Surprises: Kinder Eggs
    Sadness: eHarmony
    Disgust: Greenpeace
    Anger: Twitter, Donald Trump

  • Coldplay made a change. When they first came out, this was their poster.
  • This is now their peg — Happy
  • Coldplay are also doing a long term collaboration with OXFAM and supports fair trade. They also support zero emissions and sustainability.
  • It’s better to feed both sides of the brain — Rationality and Emotionality.
  • So here are the questions for you.
  • 1. Which emotions is your brand related to?
  • Do you know why customers purchase from you?
  • In Europe, people purchase pizzas to relax. They’re usually ordered on Wednesday night in preparation for sports night. So the emotions is for joy.
  • 2. Are your customers fans? Does your brands have fans?
  • Grow your fans. If you talk to your customers as they are your fans, your attitude towards them will be different.
  • Musicians want to please the fans. We have to think about the difference on how we see clients. Instead of seeing them as customers, we should see them as fans.
  • Fans create more fans. They spread the word of mouth about you. They are the best marketers for your brand.
  • Emotional contagion – Check out an AC-DC Concert.
  • It was held in Argentina several years ago. People were jumping, removing their tops. This was rock and roll and pure emotion.

That’s why rock and roll is important in human history. This is our right side of our brains taking our breath away. It’s all about making people feel something.

Emotions are the ink where we the humans breathe our memories. These emotions burn in the memory forever.

Example: Apple, Harley Davidson, Amazon

3. Move towards the Emotions Marketing Plan. Can you design a marketing plan to rock your customers?

Marketers should be able to design emotions. Decide beforehand how you want them to feel, and create an action plan to achieve that goal.

The right expectations is the key to satisfaction. Design expectations from the beginning.

Posted in Business, Education, entrepreneurship, First Experiences, Fun Activities in the Philippines, marketing, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

12 Things Employees Need to Know about the Post-ECQ Working Environment

A lot of businesses AND employees have been lambasting the national government for not offering enough support. Given how harshly they complain, I wonder if they actually know what rights do businesses have as an Employer. Likewise, I don’t think many employees understand the precarious situation is everyone is in, and the “New Normal” is a labor landscape that’s more challenging from before.


This is the reason why I wrote this post — It may be a reiteration of my previous post. However, it will help everyone understand what’s going on, and where everybody’s rights are. This would minimize fear mongering in social media, and give everyone the correct perspective on how businesses will operate post-ECQ.

Here are Twelve (12) Things Employees should be aware of when Working in an Post-ECQ World:

  1. Employers are not liable for employees when they contract COVID-19 following certain conditions
  2. Employers are not mandated to provide shuttle buses to employees
    Update: DOLE Secretary Bello stated on May 23 that if companies cannot provide employees with shuttle service, employer cannot force them to report to work.
  3. Employers are not mandated to do mass testing for their employees
  4. Employers do not need to spend a lot of money to test their staff if they choose to do so.
  5. Employers can now operate provided they follow DTI and DOLE Health Guidelines in the Prevention of COVID-19
  6. Employers WILL send you home for 14 days if one of the employees present during the day is suspected to be positive for COVID-19
  7. Employers do not need to pay their staff if the staff does not work
  8. Employers can put their staff on Flexible-Work Arrangements (FWA) following informing DOLE seven (7) days prior
  9. Employers can legally put their staff on floating status for a limited number of months provided certain conditions are met
  10. Employers CAN Legally Negotiate for Lower Wages and Wage-Related Benefits with Employees for a Limited Time
  11. Employers can legally terminate and lay-Off a staff for Just and Authorized Causes during ECQ, MECQ and GCQ
  12. Employers can fully close their businesses without their employees’ consent

Here are 12 Things Businesses Need to Know to Operate in a Post-ECQ Environment

1.  Employers are NOT LIABLE for their employees contracting COVID-19, PROVIDED that they have paid for their staff’s SSS and PhilHealth.

Liability of Employers
Labor Advisory No. 4, Series of 2020 – Guidelines on 2019 Novela Coronavirus 2019 Prevention and Control at the Workplace

So better make sure all your staff have SSS and PhilHealth.

What type of Health Coverage do Employees Get When they contract COVID-19 and they have SSS and Philhealth? 

Here you go — anything beyond that is NOT YET the employer’s problem. Meaning, no advisory that says otherwise.

SSS and Philhealth

2. Employers are NOT mandated to provide Shuttle Buses for its Employees

Shuttle buses

Source: DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19

Shuttle buses2

Source: Inquirer, Private Firms Not Obliged to Provide Shuttle Services to Employees

UPDATE, thanks to Jeph Jacildo — Update: DOLE Secretary Bello stated on May 23 that if companies cannot provide employees with shuttle service, employer cannot force them to report to work. Yun lang, no work no pay pa din if cannot report to work.

“Alam naman ng mga employer na kung gusto nila pumasok ka, alam naman nila na wala kang sasakyan o ‘di kaya ‘di ka makarating sa iyong workplace,” DOLE chief Silvestre Bello III said during the Laging Handa online press briefing Saturday.

(Employers know that if they want you to go to work, they know that you don’t have a car or you can’t go to your workplace.)

“So kung gusto nila pumasok ka, kailangan mag-provide sila ng shuttle facility, (So if they want you to go to work, they should provide the shuttle facility),” he added.

If employers cannot provide shuttle services for its workers, Bello said they should not force employees to go to work.

3. Employers are NOT mandated to do any type of COVID-19 Testing to its Employees unless the Staff is symptomatic.

There’s also the rumor that testing is mandated and Employers has to cover all testing . This news is 100% FALSE. While it is true that IF employers want to test their staff, they have to pay for the tests, COVID-19 testing is NOT mandated by the government.

No mass testing

Some other addendum re: this. First, if you will test, testing must be done at Employer’s Expense:

Two, there are some LGUs that require testing but this is not nationwide. Here are the LGUs who are requiring testing:

  • San Juan at employer’s expense
  • Paranaque at employer’s expense
  • Caloocan at employer’s expense
  • Marikina but at city’s expense (Yay!)

San Juan

San Juan for example made it mandatory for employers to test their employees.

San Juan

For San Juan, employers have to get the MECQ Health and Travel Certificate for each employee from the City Health Office. If you got yourself tested before May 17, you have to redo the test again! My friend will call tomorrow to see what are the requirements needed.

Annnnddddd…. two days later, the San Juan government retracts (May 18 at 5pm):

San Juan

This is for Paranaque — so far, the city is clear they will mandate testing:


What about Quezon City?

Strongly advised is key. Este, not mandatory yet as of May 17, 2pm:

So if your LGU says you need to test, you need to test. Check with your LGU on what their ruling will be.

4. Employers do not need to spend a lot of money to test their staff if they choose to do so.

If Employer wants to do COVID-19 Testing for its Employees, the Cost is CHEAPER than Expected at a Minimum of Php 400 per FDA Approved Kit.

DOLE says that IF employers decided to test, they have to pay for the testing. The decision lies in the employer to do it or not. Given this snippet of information, all employers started to complain and say that testing is expensive and they can’t test all their workers.  This is because at that time, a lot of clinics are charging between Php 1,000 to Php 1,900 per person to for a rapid test kit. This is widely marked up given the supply and demand. It comes to the point that even lawmakers like Drilon is complaining on why the suppliers are charging so high.

Thanks to Project Ark, a private sector initiative that connects businesses and charities to the direct source of rapid test kits, thus ensuring that they buy the FDA approved kits at the cheapest cost possible, allowing everyone to test their employees at a reasonable price. Please note that they are NOT the supplier, but rather the coordinator that connects businesses to the direct suppliers. 

I bought our rapid test kit, Innovita, from one rapid test kit providers, at Php 450.00 a piece, box of 40 pcs minimum:  


Numbers here on the lower right side:

Numbers here

Who will Test? 

Employers have the option to outsource the hiring of the med tech team. According to DOH:

Companies who initiate rapid antibody testing at their own cost do not need to contract the services of a laboratory. They may conduct testing in accordance with DOH protocols  for administering and interpreting the test, use of proper PPE and disposal of healthcare wastes, and reporting of results through the CIF.

I received a quotation for a team of licensed med tech professionals who can conduct the test in our office for a fee of ₱8700. That’s for:

2 x Licensed Medical Technician
1 x Licensed Nurse

Each cost ₱2900 (₱2000 basic pay, ₱400 hazard fee and ₱500 transport). If you don’t have a company physician and want to hire a licensed doctor to sign certification, that’s ₱5,300 for the doctor. Total of ₱14,000. PPE/lab gown and surgical mask is company expense.

The two med techs will be in charge of extraction. Nurse will tally results sheet which is part of the certification given. The team has to be at least 3 to prevent mix ups. For certification, a company physician or licensed doctor need to sign the results.

Per patient, the entire process may take 20 minutes —- 5 mins to test, 10-15 minutes for results to come out before results to read. The team can test sunod sunod. That’s why people need a dedicated person in the results area to ensure there’s no mix up of kits to read, which he will forward to the doctor.


Rapid tests cost ₱1500-1900 in a clinic.

Assume lab test is ₱1500-1900 per pax, the break-even point of doing it onsite with med tech team present is 6-8 pax. Six if the clinic price is Php 1,900. Eight if the clinic price is Php 1,500. If with their licensed doctor, break-even is at 10-13 employees.

Assume ₱1500 test elsewhere, if for example, you have 40 pax, doing the tests onsite in your office with a team of med tech and licensed doctor will save you ₱28,000. If you have 100 people in a factory, savings will be ₱91,000.

If the LGU does not mandate testing in their affiliated clinic, this is the practical alternative for businesses who choose doing rapid tests over zero tests at all. Again, I know the risks. I’ve analyzed all the data. Just sharing so that people can make informed decisions vs. Just going for zero or the most expensive alternative there is.

5. Employers can now operate provided they follow the DTI and DOH Health Guidelines

Labor Advisory No. 17Source: Labor Advisory No. 17, Series of 2020 – Guidelines on Employment Preservation Upon the Resumption of Business Operation

Here is the DTI and DOLE Interim Guideline Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID:

DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines

Everyone should read it, understand it, and follow it at all times. This will ensure that everybody in the office can be protected from COVID-19.

This means that so long as the company complies with the DTI and DOLE Interim Guideline Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID, workers cannot say that there is imminent danger in the workplace without any proof.

Duties of employers

Hence, employees cannot use the excuse that “takot ako sa buhay ko,” to refuse to go to work without any repercussions. For them to use the excuse that their workplace is dangerous, DOLE has to first determine that the workplace is indeed dangerous, and issue a Work Stoppage Order to suspend operations.

Imminent danger

Without the Work Stoppage Order from DOLE, employees must report if asked by their employees. If they went absent, employers have the right to issue warnings and sanctions to get them to come in.

work stoppage ruke

6. Employers WILL send you home for 14 days if one of the employees present during the day is suspected to be positive for COVID-19

14 day quarantine

Specifically, here are the instructions:

Reducing the risk

When this happens, cooperate with the company and go home. If the suspected COVID-19 worker tested negative, only then will you be allowed to report back to work. This is why if you think you are sick, stay at home and don’t pahamak your co-workers.

7. Employers do NOT Need to Pay Staff for Days Not Worked

Days unworked
Source: Labor Advisory No. 4, Series of 2020 – Guidelines on 2019 Novela Coronavirus 2019 Prevention and Control at the Workplace

payment of wagesSource:Labor Advisory No. 1, Series of 2020 – Suspension of Work in the Private Sector by Reason of Natural or Man-Made Calamity

8. Employers CAN put Staff on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA) provided that they inform DOLE Seven (7) Days Prior

fwaSource: Labor Advisory No. 17, Series of 2020 – Guidelines on Employment Preservation Upon the Resumption of Business Operation

In fact, DOLE prefers that employers put their staff on FWA arrangements instead of terminating them completely.

DOLE don't close

inquiererSource: DOLE to Businesses: Don’t close, just scale down. Inquirer

Just a warning, FWA should not last more than six (6) months.  The Establishment Report on COVID-19 looks like this. Yes, it’s the same form we submitted to DOLE.


Download the Word Version ER-COVID19-Monitoring-Form HERE.

If you are going to do an FWA, please fill up the 1) Establishment Report on COVID-19 and 2) Report on the Adoption of Flexible Work Arrangements During Economic Difficulties and National Emergencies. You need to email this to your local DOLE office ASAP, and submit two hard copies to the closest DOLE Office which has jurisdiction over the workplace as soon after ECQ lifts.


9. Employers can put their staff on “Floating Status” under certain Conditions

Unfortunately YES for the below conditions:


Under Article 286 of the Labor Code it is provided as follows:

ART. 286. When employment not deemed terminated. — The bonafide suspension of the operation of a business or undertaking for a period not exceeding six months, or the fulfillment by the employee of a military or civic duty shall not terminate employment.

In all such cases, the employer shall reinstate the employee to his former position without loss of seniority rights if he indicates his desire to resume his work not later than one month from the resumption of operations of his employer or from his relief from the military or civic duty. If there’s no work to be returned after max of 6 months floating status, the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year.


Sad truth is the company has no obligation to pay you basic salary under the rule no work, no pay. Although there are companies who give basic pay to their employees who are on floating status, they are rare. If you’re in one, stay there. I had a friend who was earning while he was sitting at home waiting to be called and report back to work as soon as there’s an opening. Because he was placed on floating status.


Your employer will pay you separation and everything due to you. Unless of course they’re able to find a new campaign for you. Provided that the campaign will accept you and that you’re a fit for the opening.

Floating Staff

WARNING: Floating Status is TRICKY. Three months floating is a sure ball. No problems with labor.

You do need to have the right reason to put a staff on floating status if you plan to do so for more than 3 months. Read the fine print to proceed:

Travel agency closed due to government orders regarding ECQ and GCQ — Legal for 6 months max.

Lack of contract awarded to the business for that team to do their work — Legal for 6 months max.

Mall closed due to fire — Legal to float for 6 months max.

I’m angry at you and company wants you to force resign so they place you on floating status for over 3 months — ILLEGAL.

This article by Charles Anderson, Suspension of Business Operations: Floating Status, Temporary Lay-off gives a well balanced view on the subject and is a gold mine of information. Please READ this article before floating a staff. Long but super interesting to read.

10. Employers CAN Legally Negotiate for Lower Wages and Wage-Related Benefits with Employees for a Limited Time

Provided that it’s voluntary in writing and with mutual agreement:


Source: Labor Advisory No. 17, Series of 2020 – Guidelines on Employment Preservation Upon the Resumption of Business Operation

Regardless of this forgiving policy, do not go under the minimum wage. And if you reduce, best to reduce only the additional benefits like telephone allowance, rice subsidy, bonuses and incentives, and other dagdag benefits. Personally, I would leave their basic wages untouched. Kasi people are worth their basic wages.

If they are not even worth their basic wage, then maybe you should not keep them anymore. Just make sure you pay them separation pay.

11. Employers CAN Legally Terminate and Lay-Off Staff for Just and Authorized Causes Even During ECQ, MECQ and GCQ. 

People misread the Labor Advisory by saying that they are protected from being fired during ECQ. So they can be an ass, do whatever they want, and still be protected by DOLE.

This is a very WRONG misconception — A company CAN and SHOULD terminate your employment for any Just and Authorized Causes as prescribed by the Labor Code so long as there’s really an offense and the company follows due process in firing you. Here are the difference between Just and Authorized Causes:

Just or Authorized Cause for Termination

In Tagalog:

Ngunit alam

You need to know WHY you were terminated. Both Just and Authorized Causes are allowed during ECQ under the following conditions:

  • Just Causes: There must be a valid offense, Twin notice rule and proper due process are followed.
  • Authorized Causes: Company has reported to DOLE that they will cut people, 30 days notice, and payment of severance pay.  Severance pay as follows:

Separation Pay

If you are terminated using the Just and Authorized Causes, wala kang laban sa DOLE.

For those who don’t come to work, they can be terminated following due process. I would just encourage companies to be lenient on attendance during MECQ due to zero public transportation. Kindly balance both heart and mind when making a decision to terminate a staff.

Absent12. Businesses CAN Legally Close Even without the Consent of the Employees 

All the company has to do is to follow due process in closing the business. The law firm Nicolas & De Vega Law Office shares with us the process of fully closing a business:

a. Employees must be properly terminated to avoid issues on illegal dismissal.

All companies need to do is to INFORM the Notice of Closure and Termination to both the employee and DOLE at least 30 days before the intended date of termination. Note that informing the employees does not mean the employees consent to the closure. But if management decides to close, employees have no choice but to respect the decision so long as the company followed due process and pay the correct separation pay.

This is the reason why so many companies are permanently shutting down. I am especially sad to see some of the institutions I grew up with have started shutting down like the iconic Century Seafood Restaurant.

century-seafood-closeSource: Century Seafood Restaurant Closes Down, Esquire Magazine

Furthermore, if the closure is not due to business losses, the corresponding separation pay must be paid to the employees. This is the Termination Form you have to submit to DOLE:

b. Company must then send a Notice of Closure to BIR, SSS, Philhealth and Pag-ibig. 

             Failure to notify and/or secure clearances from these government agencies will result in the continued assessment of the company for its mandated contributions.  Hence, the BIR will still assess taxes based on the presumed income of the company.  Further, the SSS, Philhealth and Pag-Ibig will still consider the company as active and presume that the company is delinquent in its remittances.  Hence, the company might be surprised to still be assessed these contributions four years after its closure.

c. Inform other government agencies of your Notice of Closure if you are involved in the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA), Board of Investments (BOI), etc.,

d. Close the business with the DTI if you are a sole proprietor or SEC if you’re a corporation.

Closing a business is a tedious process that takes an extra amount of money, and can last you around six months to a year. It is essential to go through all steps though. Please do not shortcut your closure as it will give you problems later on when you decide to open up another business.

In Summary 

Upon reading this blog post, a lot of employees might be dismayed on the bias of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the national government towards businesses and large companies. “Lahat ng bagay, puro pro-Employer! Paano naman kaming mga employees?!”

To be honest, I’ve always found DOLE to be super pro-labor/employee. Even though their complaints don’t have any basis, DOLE still engages and entertains the employee grievances. When there’s a decision to be made, DOLE often times asks the companies to give in, and to settle with the employees para matapos na ang issue, even though it’s the employee that’s in the wrong. To say DOLE is pro-employer is very unfair. DOLE has always looked after the rights of the employees much to businesses’ chagrin. In fact, this is one of the reasons why foreign investors do not come into the Philippines. Kasi masyadong pro-labor ang Pilipinas.


So the fact that DOLE is loosening its hold shows their desperation for businesses to stay afloat and to stop laying off people. So many businesses have closed and laid off people over the last couple of weeks to the point that DOLE is concerned, and wants to stop the flow of unemployment.

“Some 5 to 10 million workers could lose their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns, Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Thursday.

At least 2.6 million workers were displaced permanently or temporarily as of May, Bello said in a Senate hearing on the COVID-19 crisis that swept the country of a little over 100 million.

“Yung (the) 2.6 million, that is the actual number of workers either displaced because of temporary closure or because of the flexible work arrangement. Our estimate is that we may go as high as 5 million,” Bello said.

During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Senator Ralph Recto asked if it is possible for unemployment in the country to reach 10 million, to which Bello replied, “I hate to say it, but it’s possible.”

All I can say is, the job market will be worse when we get back to work. Wherein employees used to be very demanding and could easily jump from one company to the next, many would find the post-ECQ era to be different. I’m part of several HR and Job Hunting sites, and all I can see are companies firing groups of people left and right. If you lost your job, it would be harder to find another as companies are no longer hiring in the same capacity as before. Wala na ngang mapaglagyan sa tao ngayon. Maghihire ka pa?

But what about our families?” Employees ask. “I have a wife and kids to feed. Paano na sila if bumaba ang swedo ko?”

I know it sucks.

All I can say is, SOME MONEY is still better than ZERO MONEY. Yes, it sucks if your wages cut in half given a reduction of work days. But at the end of the day, it’s still better than having no job, and no income. Because when that happens, patay na talaga ang pamilya. Where will you get money? Utang na lang ba ng utang?

I’m sorry if you lost your job. I’m sorry if you think your life sucks. Everyone is in the same boat. You, me and everybody else.

So if you still have a job, treasure it.

If you haven’t been laid off yet, be thankful.

If your company asks you to make REASONABLE concessions (hindi yung abusado ha), be considerate.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not about me. It’s about we. And we all need to hold on with the post-ECQ business environment, which will be harder for most industries than before.

Good luck to us all.


Posted in Advice, Business, covid-19, Employee Relations, entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, Human Resources (HR), Lists, money, Personal opinion, Philippines, Polarizing Opinion, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Don’t Be a Want-Trepreneur


A wantrepreneur is defined as someone who aspires to be an entrepreneur, but never realizes his ambition.

My friend was a Want-trepreneur. He felt being an entrepreneur was his true calling and constantly thought of one business idea after another. Out of the 8 years I know him, he had 12 failed business ideas. He would start, get a partner, talk excitedly about it, and a few weeks/months later, would talk about another business idea.

When asked why the venture failed, he said his partner stopped funding. Customers didn’t buy their product. There were issues with customs or his suppliers can’t produce. Everyone and everything was a problem but himself. And there lies his problem, he forgot the valuable lesson —- THE BUCK STARTS AND STOPS WITH HIM.

Anyone can give ideas. Ideas are cheap. The devil is in the execution —- Business is a series of small logistical decisions. You must have the will and patience to get these small actions done.

My friend thought business was dreaming big and getting rich. But he just couldn’t sustain his interest. When problems came, he easily gave up. So he kept on planting seeds, but never waited for the seeds to bear fruit. Without proper care, time, effort and commitment, his businesses wilted and die. After his 10th business idea, how do you think we reacted to his new crazy idea?


Being an entrepreneur is a lonely job. It’s a terrible job.

There is very little comfort when you start. I had a far easier time in corporate. All I had to do was show up at 7:30am, work, and then get paid a TON of money. If you want higher pay, just go corporate.

It doesn’t work that way as an entrepreneur. If you don’t work, you don’t get any sales. No sales, you DO NOT eat.

So my advice to you is:

1. Stick to a business.

Don’t keep on jumping from one idea to the next. Sometimes, there’s value in sticking with one and pushing it through. If you keep on stopping every time you feel discouraged, how can you succeed?

2. Understand why you do business. It’s not always to make money.

For me, it’s to be a better businesswoman. Every step of the way is a learning process. It pays to be very hands on. Doing most of the processes myself saved me money and I learn a lot doing it. For me, a business is like a college course that keeps on giving back. It’s better than a master’s degree.

For example, my supervisor stole php50,000 cash. Learning from the experience, I tightened the money controls, found out the legal process to get an arrest warrant from him, and learned a valuable lesson of not trusting people with money. Don’t waste the lesson. You get better as you go along.

3. You must will yourself to be strong and be your own cheerleader.

An entrepreneur is her own driver for your business. If you work, people work. If you stop, things don’t get done. While it’s good to have a sounding board, it is you who make your own decisions and are responsible for their aftermath.

Don’t look into anyone for support. And don’t blame your family, your spouse or your friends for being unsympathetic. If you can’t handle the criticism, don’t be in business.

4. Don’t expect people to save you.

At the end of the day, you’re your own boss. If nobody will do it, bridge the gap of the business yourself. 

If you lack supplies, go to Divisoria to buy packaging. If you can’t afford an HR yet, write your own handbook, contracts and Notice: to Explain. Be the procurement, sales, marketing, operation, HR, and finance team in the beginning. Don’t wait for people to save you. Nobody saves you for free. If you want an assistant you don’t need to pay for, go for corporate.

5. Never stop trying.

If you fail, don’t give up. I went into the toy business and it didn’t work out. I registered a new company, made a logo, applied for an import permit and got our product into the biggest toy stores in the country.

While it didn’t make me a gazillionaire, it was a great experience. Now I know I should not to get into toys! So the effort was not a waste.

6. Focus on that first sale.

It doesn’t matter how great your ideas is, but if nobody buys your product, it’s not a great idea. Sorry.


If you want to be an entrepreneur, be one. But you can’t just want to be one. You have to WILL yourself to be one. Remember, the business fizzles as soon as you remove your foot on the pedal.

At the end of the day, the buck stops with you. Not your partners. Not your husband. Not your parents. Not your friends. But you.

So now, what are you going to do about it?

Asa pa kay asawa? Huwag na. Asa pa sa kaibigan? Huwag na.

Asa lang sa sarili.

Posted in Business, entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, Finance, Lists, marketing, Money Issues, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

HR Talk: “Is the Company Required to Do COVID-19 Testing?” and 9 Other Confusing Questions Answered for Issues related to MECQ

Running a business is tough.

You have to face labor concerns, market your products, sell them, and ensure that money is transmitted in the right way. I think I had a much easier time being part of the corporate world. All I had to worry was my own key performance indicators (KPI),  and my boss will reward me for my job well done.

However, COVID-19 is becoming challenging. This virus has forced us to shutter our stores, stay at home, regroup and restrategize. However, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as the government announced that Metro Manila is now under Modified ECQ, which is like ECQ, but it isn’t (Yes, I know it’s malabo), while neighboring cities like Cavite and Batangas are now under GCQ.

As we prepare to get back to work, I have prepared the following Q&A to address how we are following DTI and DOLE’s Guidelines for COVID-19 Prevention and Control (PDF), and what we are doing to prepare our staff in coming back to work.

Here are my Top 10 Questions Answered About Business in the MECQ

1. What is the difference between ECQ, MECQ and GCQ?

This infographic conveniently summarizes the difference between ECQ, Modified ECQ and GCQ:

Phased TransitionThe Biggest Concern during MECQ is the Lack of Public Transportation. 

Public Transport Disallowed in GCQ
Source: 1589345770661484mp4-1 (3)

During MECQ, there is ZERO public transport — No bus, no jeep, no UV Express, no MRTs, and no Angkas. Since Filipinos heavily depend on public transportation to get around, if there are no public transportation available, everyone cannot get to work, period.

public transport

Yes, the company can offer them bicycle/motorcycle, supply shuttle buses, or dorm services for the staff. But it’s up to you to decide if this is a feasible option for you. bicycle

Everyone is on the same boat. Every business has to come up with ingenious ways for staff to come to work. For us, some of the staff can reach work, while others cannot. Hence, if I were to open, those who can come will report and will get paid. And those who are far away and cannot, will not.  Problem solved.

2. What are the documents a business will have to provide to their employees for them to report to work?

For us, we will give the staff the following:

  • Certificate of Employment (COE) with Return to Work Order
    • Printed on company letterhead
    • Indicate purpose — Movement of personnel across NCR
    • Always put the deadline/validity period  — Duration of MECQ and GCQ lockdown
    • State clearly that the document will serve only as a COVID-19 Travel Pass and not for any other purpose
  • Company IDs with their address and place of work

According to Joint Task Force (TF) COVID Shield Chief Major General Guillermo Eleazar, these should be enough to get them through checkpoints in Metro Manila during MECQ.


Please note that there’s a limitation for people under GCQ to enter an MECQ area. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told the Inquirer on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, that a person from a general quarantine area (GCQ) can go to a modified enhanced quarantine area (MECQ) only “for work or indispensable purpose.”

3. Are Employers required to provide shuttle services during MECQ?

Last May 14, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement, “Kung hindi po kaya talaga ng kumpanya na magbigay ng shuttle o kung walang sasakyan yung kanilang mga empleyado, eh, ‘wag na po muna magbukas (If the company cannot provide a shuttle or their employees don’t have their own vehicles, then do not open for now).”


Everyone clamored and tried to interpret what he said. Should employers provide shuttle buses? What if the employer cannot provide shuttle buses? Should businesses shut down because cost-wise, the company cannot provide shuttle buses to its employees? Can employees demand shuttle buses and hatid sundo?


We look at what the DOLE requires employers to offer. In all their advisories, none of them said provision of shuttle buses is mandatory. In fact, the only mention was this statement, “If feasible, employers must also provide shuttle services and/or decent accommodation on near-site locations to lessen travel and people movement.”

Shuttle servicesThe definitive term is FEASIBLE. This means, if pwede, okay. If not, pwede din. The government did not say mandatory. So the way I interpret it, companies may or may not provide shuttle buses or hatid sundo if they choose to open during MECQ. While it’s great if they could, they are NOT obliged to do so.


Given this, companies CAN open their businesses without offering shuttle buses. Anyway, even though there is no public transport, employees who want to go to work CAN go to work using private means like motorcycle, buses, private cars, and walking.

Public Transport Disallowed in GCQ

If they come into work, great. If not, that’s fine. But it’s on a no-work-no-pay basis as per Labor Advisory No. 1, Series of 2020, Section 2:

Section 2

By the way, extra note, there’s no color coding yet during ECQ and MECQ. Will update if any changes.

4. Can employers legally terminate employees who refuse to come to work?

This question is particularly sensitive because it’s COVID-19 season. Everyone is somewhat afraid of their lives. Many cite their workplace as a place of unsafe work, and refuse to report to work. You may see this going around the internet, and think “Hey, I can tell my boss I won’t report and he can’t fire me!”

Right to Refuse Unsafe Work


Please do not take the law out of context. You don’t make an infographic of two people in face masks and then assume that this Act can be directly applicable to our current situation, without proper basis. Let’s dive into the details of RA 11058, Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards further:

Right to refuse unsafe work

Please note that to use the RA 11058 as an excuse to skip work, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) must first determine that an imminent danger situation exists in the workplace that may result to death or illness. Workers can report directly to the DOLE or other competent government agencies accidents, dangerous occurrences and hazards in the work place. As a preventive measure, Section 6 of D.O. 198-18 (Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 11058) also grants the company’s safety officer the discretion to implement work stoppage or suspension of operations in cases of imminent danger.

Take for example, someone in the workplace is COVID-19 positive. And your employer does not take action. You report the worker’s presence to DOLE. DOLE or the safety officer comes in and inspects, finally declaring that Imminent danger in the workplace. Only then can you use this clause and not come to work.

The rule is clear, “A Work Stoppage Order (WSO) shall be issued as soon as the imminent danger situation is confirmed to exist by the DOLE. Workers may validly refuse to work until the lifting of the WSO. The law affords protection to the safety officer and workers against retaliatory acts or reprisals.”

There has to be proof that there’s imminent danger before one can use the “unsafe to go to work” rule.

What will happen if I refuse to report to work?

I think it’s up to the company how they want to proceed. For me, it depends.

If the employee truly is 55 years old and is recovering from a weak immune system, for goodness sakes, just let him stay home and put him on floating status for the meantime. Anyway, what’s the loss, if there’s no work no pay?

However, if the person’s as healthy as a horse and cannot give me any medical reason on why I should allow him/her to stay at home, if the role is critical, I will still ask him/her to come to work. If his house is just right in the neighborhood and he can, then he should.


DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez made a statement that a worker might lose his/her job if the worker still refuses to go to work:

DTI Chief

But the DTI is not DOLE, so while the ECQ is there, just be careful of this advisory:

Personally, I’d wait till MECQ is lifted to be stricter with attendance. If the role is not as critical, let the guy go and rest at home. But if the role is critical, talk to the guy and persuade him to report. Anyway, the MECQ is only 15 days. The business will not die if you wait till MECQ is lifted to impose serious sanctions.

REMINDER: To terminate a staff, always follow due process.

Fellow HR Richard DeDios succinctly explains it:

The possible case will be Serious Misconduct or Willful Disobedience (Article 297.a) not Gross and Habitual Neglect of Duty (Article 297.b). The latter requires that the employee did it repeatedly or habitually as in the case of habitual absences or tardiness.

With regards to due process, there is no need for warning just the observance of the twin notice (1st Notice – NTE, Admin Hearing, 2nd Notice – Notice of Disciplinary Action/Termination).

Normally if we send a Return to Work Order and the employee did not comply with it and continue being absent, the reason for termination is not insubordination but abandonment of work which falls under Serious Misconduct.

DOLE Department Order 147 Series of 2015 serve as our IRR for termination due to Just and Authorized Causes, and the requirement of Due Process.


For any other questions regarding Termination, please feel free to click, HR Talk: “I was terminated during ECQ. What now?” and 11 Other Questions Answered About being Fired!

5. Are employers required to do any COVID-19 testing for their employees? 

Yes and no.

In general though, most employers are NOT required to do any COVID-19 testing for their employees. If you want to, great. But if you don’t want to, that’s fine with DOLE. In the DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 issued last April 30, they used the operative word, “may.”

This clearly means it’s NOT mandatory to test your staff. However, if you wish to do so, testing has to be at the Employer’s account.

COVID Testing

But if so, testing must be done at Employer’s Expense:

There are some LGUs that require testing but this is not nationwide. Here are the LGUs who are requiring testing:

  • San Juan at employer’s expense
  • Paranaque at employer’s expense
  • Caloocan at employer’s expense
  • Marikina but at city’s expense (Yay!)

San Juan

San Juan for example is making it mandatory for employers to test their employees.

San Juan

For San Juan, employers have to get the MECQ Health and Travel Certificate for each employee from the City Health Office. If you got yourself tested before May 17, you have to redo the test again! My friend will call tomorrow to see what are the requirements needed.

Annnnddddd…. two days later, the San Juan government retracts (May 18 at 5pm):

San Juan

This is for Paranaque:



So if your LGU says you need to test, you need to test. Check with your LGU on what their ruling will be.

What about Quezon City?

Strongly advised is key. Este, not mandatory yet as of May 17, 2pm:

We will still test our workers though.

The best test available right now is the rtPCR (Swab Test). This is what it looks like and I heard it hurts like hell.

covid test

They are also relatively expensive, costing Php 4,000 at Red Cross, Php 5,000 at Chinese General Hospital, and Php 9,000 at St. Luke’s with an average 48 hour turnaround time. However, while they are more accurate than rapid tests, they are still not 100% fool proof.

A family friend was checked in one of the best private hospitals in Manila last April 2020 for a case of pneumonia. He did the swab test twice but tested negative. As his conditions worsened, he was placed in ICU and was intubated (e.g., The process of placing a tube inside the lungs of the patient thru the mouth that is connected to a respirator to assist in breathing). On his third COVID-19 test, it was revealed that he was actually positive of COVID-19. The declaration came a day after he died.

For our workers, we will do a one-time Rapid Test for them.


Because we have a lot of people. So it’s impractical to do swab tests for them, lest we bankrupt the company. If that’s the case, we should just stay closed.

The rapid test offers us a cheaper alternative, costing Php 450 to 1,500 per test. While rapid tests have a 14% level of inaccuracy, still getting a rapid test done gives your employees some peace of mind. This also ensures that those who are identified COVID-19 Positives from the get go are NOT allowed to start and mix with those who have tested negative. If they are positive, they should stay at home. This is what the DOH and DOLE recommends:

DOH Baseline

We will get our rapid test from GoNegosyo’s ProjectArk. Price is php450-600 per pc and they are FDA approved:

Ayan, ayaw ko kasi ng scammers who markup FDA tests aggressively. I know already tests are not accurate. Having it done in a hospital does NOT make it any more accurate.

These are the FDA Approved Rapid Test Kits:



Disclaimer: Rapid Test Kits are Not 100% Accurate

This is the position paper of the Philippine College of Physicians and the Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases regarding rapid test kits:


Rapid tests have low sensitivity and specificity — It is only accurate once you have been exposed for around 14 days, and your body has developed antibodies. If you have a fever and have the budget, it’s better to use the rt PCR and not test kits. However, given that we are not in a critical industry and we have more than 20 people, we choose to do rapid tests instead.

Yes, I am aware that the rapid test kit is around 14% inaccurate. However, a rapid test kit it’s still better than doing zero tests. It is more dangerous if you did nothing and unintentionally mixed a COVID-19 positive worker into the mix. The rapid test kit is still the next best thing for businesses especially when you have more than 5 people. Buyer’s beware though. Here are the risks of choosing rapid test kits in your company:

Rapit Test 1Rapid Test 0Rapid Test 6

Rapid Test 4Rapit Test 3


6. Can employers legally place workers in a Flexible-Work Arrangement (FWA)?

YES. According to DOLE Labor Advisory No. 9, Series of 2020, Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements as Remedial Measure due to the Ongoing Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019, employers are encouraged to pursue flexible work arrangements so that companies can do social distancing, save cash flow and ensure continuity in case one of our employees tests positive.

Flexible work arrangements

The rules are clear: If one staff is tested COVID-19 positive, all the staff present that day will be put on 14-day quarantine, rendering that cluster useless. When everyone is present, everyone has to stay at home if only one of them tests positive, crippling the entire organization. Hence, it’s better to divide the company in multiple clusters to ensure that the business will still run even if one staff tests positive for COVID-19:

COVID Testing2

Since our office is small, space would be tight if everyone came in. There would be no social distancing, which would place us in trouble. So a FWA is a great option for businesses. Companies can temporarily reduce workdays and place everyone on a 3- or 4-day work week.  This is perfectly legal and allowed.

For more details on how the FWA will proceed, I look into Labor Advisory No. 2, Series of 2009, Guidelines on the Adoption of Flexible Work Arrangements:


Just a warning, FWA should not last more than six (6) months. If you are going to do an FWA, please fill up the 1) Establishment Report on COVID-19 and 2) Report on the Adoption of Flexible Work Arrangements During Economic Difficulties and National Emergencies. Submit it to closest DOLE Regional Office which has jurisdiction over the workplace as soon as possible.

The Establishment Report on COVID-19 looks like this. Yes, it’s the same form we submitted to DOLE.


Download the Word Version ER-COVID19-Monitoring-Form HERE.

The Report on the Adoption of Flexible Work Arrangements During Economic Difficulties and National Emergencies looks like this:


Please read Question 9, “They told me that I’m on Floating Status. No work, no pay daw. Is this legal?in full before putting people in floating status. It can be a bit tricky especially beyond the three month mark, so it’s crucial you read the fine print before pushing this button.

7. Can employees demand Hazard Pay during this time?

The Senate Bill 1418 which grants President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to stop the COVID-19 spread, also mandates hazard pay for all frontline health workers during the ongoing state of calamity in the country. With this bill:

a. All public health workers are protected by providing them with a ‘COVID-19 special risk allowance’, in addition to the hazard pay granted under the Magna Carta of the Public Health Workers or Republic Act No. 7305,”

Hazard pay for public sectorSource

b. Public and private health workers who will contract COVID-19 while on duty will be entitled to receive P100,000 from the government.

c. If they die while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, public and private medical practitioners will be given P1 million each.

d. Philhealth is mandated to shoulder the hospitalization costs of all medical workers who will contract the disease.

But as for the Private Sector? Coach Darwin Rivers answers:

Hazard Pay

In short, there are no hazard pay for workers in the private sector. It’s still company discretion whether to give or not.

8. What if Employees get sick of COVID-19, can they demand employers to pay their hospital bill?

Off the top of mind, no. I remind our employees that that’s what the government mandatory benefits are there for. If they get sick or test positive of COVID-19, there are two health-related benefits to avail of:

  1. Philhealth COVID-19 packages to qualified employees: IMPORTANT: It’s better to be tested positive of COVID-19 to gain maximum health benefits. A family friend had a fever and went to the hospital for check-up. She was refused admittance until she went to St. Luke’s QC, which charged her an arm and a leg at the emergency room. Since she had a fever, she was identified as a potential candidate for COVID-19. After running some tests and a few days stay in the hospital, it was determined she only had Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), and had to pay more than Php 300,000 in hospital bills. Good thing she was rich enough to afford her hospital bills.
  2. SSS Sickness Benefit (90% of average daily salary computed by SSS, up to 120 days) if you qualify:
    1. The member is unable to work due to sickness/injury and confined at hospital for at least (4) days.
    2. She has paid at least 3 months of SSS contributions within the 12-month period immediately before the semester of sickness or injury
    3. Has submitted a Sickness Benefit Application with the SSS directly. Notify your supervisor within five (5) calendar days after the start of sickness. For expediency, staff are asked to directly file with SSS within 10 days after start of sickness, bringing their:
      • Duly accomplished Sickness Benefit Application (SBA)
      • Identification card/s or document/s (List in the SSS site)
      • Medical documents, if any
      • Plus the following documents, In case of prolonged confinements, original/CTC of following:Laboratory, X-ray, ECG and other diagnostic results
        1. Operating room/clinical records that will support diagnosis
        2. Certificate of Non-Advancement of Payment from Employer (Company will provide this doc)
  3. Additional Health Coverage if your company has the budget

The best random person who private messaged me to offer me health coverage is Louise Eliesse Go from FWD-Security Bank:


Louise said, “For the Kanmend, if COVID-19 leads to any critical illness covered, we will give you the Php 100,000. For Php 1,799, you’re covered for 1 year. The package includes Telemedicine as well. You can do medical consultations through phone through KonsultaMD. This application is done online as well. Apply in minutes and pay through your debit or credit card.”

I’m not a big believer of health coverage and I do not know Louise personally. However, if you are interested, you may inquire more about the product as a competitor, Maxicare only covers up to Php 15,000 for a price of Php 899.


9. What are my Company Measures and Protocols to Prevent the Transmission of COVID-19?

Here’s mine, short and sweet but contains the rules we believe is applicable to our workplace. The complete memo can be downloaded here:

Workplace Rules for COVDI

Attached is a printer-friendly Health Systems Questionnaire, which I will share with you. I reformatted it so that there will be two forms instead of one in one sheet of paper to save on printing costs. It has the exact content with the DOLE sheet. We will ask all employees and visitors to fill in the form and file them.

Visitors Checklist
Downloadable Form Here: VISITOR’S HEALTH CHECKLIST – General.

Daily Temperature Check

We will also ask the Employees to fill up this Temperature Check form so that we have a summary on their temperature per day.

Daily Temperature Check
Downloadable PDF: Temperature Health Check – General

For our printing needs, I highly recommend this supplier. Rates are reasonable and they are a small business so share the love:

We will copy furnish DOLE a monthly reporting using the DOLE Work Accident/Illness Report Form.


10. Where did your company order your medical supplies?

There’s so many people selling medical supplies right now. Even my real estate agent is in the medical supplies game. In the end, you just have to close your eyes and jump. Please note that none of these suppliers are my personal friends. I am ordering from them because they offer the best deals in the market today (PM me if you find cheaper). After canvassing, they are as follows:

a. Disinfectants and hand soap from NUDE Essentials:

Nude Essentials

Germicidalb. Infrared Thermometers from Lazada (Php 1,390)

Infrared Thermomenter

c. Disinfectant Mat – I got from Juby Lim. Everybody else was selling for Php 1,200 or more. Too expensive.


d. Safety Face Shields from Shoppee (Php 290)

Safety Shields

e.  Face Shield for Office Workers (Light) @ Php 73/pc

Glass and Mask

BONUS QUESTION: I have all of that. Now, can we report to work?

Wait a minute, you still have to check with your local LGU if they have additional requirements for MECQ Business Clearance. Everyone might be ready to come to work, and as it turns out, you can’t open because you have no MECQ Business Clearance. Yes, there is such a thing:

Oh no

Specifically, San Juan has taken the lead in making it slightly more difficult for businesses to open during MECQ:

San Juan 1San Juan 2

This is For Makati

For owners and managers of business establishments in Makati City that will open during the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), you are all required to submit a Notice of Re-Opening to the city’s Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO).

The notice can be submitted using the following means that can be accessed starting on Monday, 18 May 2020: Makati BPLO portal (, the city’s website (, and the Makatizen App.



I will update this post as soon as more details become available. As Metro Manila transitions from ECQ to MECQ to GCQ, it’s been a wild roller coaster ride of changes, confusion and stress. Many of the orders had been very chopsuey.

roller coaster

If there’s any correction or changes, kindly PM me so that I can update this document of the latest news and information for businesses maneuvering during MECQ.

Thanks for reading!


Posted in Business, Car Issues, covid-19, Employee Relations, entrepreneurship, Event Coverage, Filipino Men/Women, How to Manage People, Human Resources (HR), leadership, Lists, money, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

HR Opinions: Minimum Wage is NOT the Problem. Freeloaders are.

How Minimum Wage Works

I wrote this last Labor Day, and as usual, employees are clamoring to increase the Minimum Wage.

As of today, minimum wage in the Philippines stands between Php 380 to Php 537 depending on locality. For NCR, that equates to Php 13,962.00 per month on a 6-day work week, or around Php 11,800 per month for a 4-day work week. If you can see in’s table, the minimum wage has increased by a whopping Php 133.00 or 33% over the last 10 years.


I am NOT going to debate whether the minimum wage is high or low. Everyone has an opinion about that, and that’s a useless argument to get into.

However, what I do know that this is the wrong time to ask for a minimum wage increase. Especially at a time when the Philippines is entering recession, and when companies are starting to freeze hire and lay off people in preparation for the decreased consumer demand post-ECQ. Who doesn’t want more money per day, right?

Let’s say the NCR minimum wage is where it stands at a current Php 537.00. Let’s say we increase the pay by Php 25.00 per day (or 4.65%), so it becomes Php 562.00 per day.  This would equate to an increase wage of Php 650.00 per person for a 6-day work week, or Php 550.00 for a 5-day workweek.

Everyone happy?


Let’s Start with Computing the True Cost of a Hypothetical Php 25.00 Increase to the Minimum Wage


If a company with a 6-day work week has 40 people for example, assuming all are at minimum wage, total payroll will marginal increase of Php 26,000 per month. This doesn’t include the increase in 13th month pay payroll by an additional Php 26,000.00, and a small increase in employer’s share of SSS, Philhealth and Pag-IBIG contributions.


Source: Social Security System

The problem with this is it will cost a 40-pax company Php 338,000 per year (Computation: 26,000 per month x 13 months) if you increase the minimum wage by Php 25.00 per day from Php 537.00 per day to Php 562.00 per day.

If the staff of 40 pax can increase their sales to more than Php 338,000 per year, then yes, wages should be higher. However, if the economy drops and gets into recession due to COVID-19, the company will experience money troubles, and will definitely have to lay off people. Actually, if the company is smarter, they should start laying off people earlier so as to save the entire ship.

Let’s simplify the equation — At an increased payroll of Php 26,000 per month, the company should hypothetically lay off 2 people (Computation: Php 26,000 with the Php 13,962 salary of a minimum wager for 1.88) to keep their payroll the same. Hence, the moment that the minimum wage jumps, if the company wants to keep payroll constant, they need to lay off 2 people immediately, or if somebody resigns, NOT fill in that position and let the other people share in the load.


It does make sense — if you’re going to increase the salary of an employee, that employee would also need to work and contribute more to a company. here should be no slacking off, just work work work up to the stated 8 hours of time. If a probationary employee for example cannot keep up, they should fail the standard and replaced with a better performing employee. With higher pay, productivity per staff should also increase.

Mind you, I don’t like giving people overtime (and if you do, they should be compensated), but if you pay people more, they should also generate more sales for the company and be worth their salaries. Makes logical sense?

When this happens, the employee complains of the amount of workload and overworking. There is increased pressure to perform and give more back. The supervisors are also unhappy because the increased payroll also increases the quota. There is an adjustment period, made worse that it’s now COVID-19 season. HR is stressed out. They need to go in between the frustrated employee and the money strapped employer. Bad news all around.

At the end of the day, employees will get fired. They will be fired because they can’t reach the quotas (performance-based), or they will resign due to added pressure.


Nobody wins.

To solve the Minimum Wage Problem, we first have to look at the Family Size Problem

Instead of increasing the Minimum Wage per day, everyone should work together to decrease unemployment. The average size of a Filipino family in 2008 is 4.8 people. Women in the Philippines birth around 3.3 babies each.  If you come from the poorer strata, you will most going to have 4 to 5 children in a lifetime.


Source: 2008 Philippines National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS)

Let’s assume that a minimum wage worker comes from the lower strata of around 3-6 kids in their family.

That consists of a father, a mother and then 3 to 6 kids for a total of 5 to 7 people in the family. Most of these kids are NOT YET on working age (Below 15 years old), and need food and sustenance to survive. Usually, there is only ONE breadwinner earning minimum wages, while the spouse stays home to take care of the kids.

This is a photo of a middle-class Filipino family — one set of parents with 2-3 children.


One breadwinner and four mouths to feed. At Php 537.00 per day minimum, a breadwinner can feed his entire family. Not with a luxurious lifestyle, but it is workable.

However, the problem is that there is more than the two adult parents and their kids that are part in a Filipino household. Usually, the grandparents stay with their adult children, helping out with daycare and doting on their kids. So Family # 2 is now, husband and wife + 3 kids + 1 lolo + 1 lola = 7 PEOPLE.


When this happens, both able-bodied parents should work. So instead of one breadwinner, there should be two at Php 28,000 total family income (Breakdown: Php 14,000 x 2 = Php 28,000). This amount can comfortably feed 7 people in total, with a few comfortable items to spare.

The biggest Filipino problem is when the family is like this — Let me introduce to you, the JOINT FAMILY. This family is composed of the grandparents + 2 adult children + their spouses so 2 pax + 3 kids per family. This equates to 12 PEOPLE in a single family!

Joint Famikly
Photo Source: Jeraldine Cabayaran

If there’s only one breadwinner for a joint family, you’re basically SCREWED. Php 14,000 is not enough for 12 people. Heck, it’s not financially possible because there’s just too many mouths to feed!

My solution to the Minimum Wage problem at the age of COVID-19 is simple — Decrease Unemployment

The problem is, in many Filipino families, only one person is working for many.

For one minimum wage employee, they are most likely supporting their housewife, their 3 kids (all young and can’t work yet), their parents, and Lord help you, a brother/sister and their family. So with one breadwinner is at least 5 to 12 mouths to feed.

This is the big problem — only one person is working for all.

In this type of joint family, you have two pairs of adults or 4 people that is capably bodied and can work — the man, his wife, his brother and his wife. That’s four extra people. If everyone is working at minimum wage, that’s not just Php 14,000 to raise a family of 12, but actually Php 56,000 supporting 12 people.

The more people in a family that works, the bigger the family’s total take home is:

Family salary

The more people in a family who works, the bigger the family total salary.

So in one family of a minimum wager, let’s say he earns ₱14,000. If there’s two that’s working, ₱28,000 na ang family income. If three ang nag work, that’s ₱42,000 na po. Ang problema kasi, isa ang nagtrabaho, and si asawa, si kuya and asawa ni kuya, lahat wala. Pwede naman si lolo or lola ang magalaga sa bata, pero ayaw. Gusto umasa lang kay Kuya Breadwinner.

The problem in the Philippines is, for every one person that works, the wife, the brother, and the wife of the brother, all of them do NOT work. They blame the childcare for their reasons of not working but we know that’s just bullshit. The grandparents could very well take care of the kids if they’re able. Or at least one capable adult can do the childcare along with the grandparents.

But the reason why they don’t work is that it’s easier to bum around at home and wait for one person to bring home the bacon. There’s Facebook and the Internet. You can play basketball with your barkadas in the afternoon. At the very least, you don’t have to work.

tambay Patay tuloy si Kuya Breadwinner!

And this is not a local problem. If there is an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in a family, everyone freeloads off that OFW! Hindi na nagtatrabaho sina kuya, ate, asawa ni kuya, asawa ni ate, at lahat ng magkakapatid! Everything  will be depended on the poor OFW.


That’s why I tell people to just work locally. At least they won’t act like a local ATM machine to their entire extended family.

SOLUTION TO POVERTY: Everyone in the family who is capable to work SHOULD WORK.

I don’t understand why only one person in a joint family is working. Why does he allow his brother or his sister to tambay (stay unemployed)? I know a lot of companies that are hiring. On any given day, I can see a lot of Help Wanted posts on Facebook, in the street, on On any given month, we are looking for new staff.

So why can’t people seem to go and look for a job? Being unemployed for a month is acceptable, but when it goes beyond a month or two, tambay na po ang tawag diyan. There’s a lot of jobs for those who want one.

job fair

As they say:

Kung gusto, may paraan.
Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan.

In English, it means, if there’s a will, there’s a way.

Huwag kasing maging pumili.  Don’t be picky. Everyone who is capable of work can find a job. If the job offer is below minimum, still take it. Money is still money. Anything that can help with the family financial burden is still a big thank you. Anyway, if the employer is good, if you work hard, you should definitely earn more than minimum.

There is no ME in family. In the family, there is WE.

The family must work as a unit to lift itself out of poverty. Yes, minimum wage is not enough but the biggest problem is, ang daming mouths to feed in every family. There are more mouths than people working so the money distributed in the family isn’t enough.

Let more people in the family work. Tiyak mababawasan ang nagugutom sa Pinas. Pag kayang magtrabaho, huwag tumambay. Everyone should work.

If more people worked in a family, the family will live a more comfortable life. And this is a better solution to the minimum wage problem without increasing unemployment. Everybody wins.

Posted in Business, covid-19, Employee Relations, Family, Family Drama, Filipino Men/Women, Finance, money, Money Issues, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), Personal opinion, Philippines, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Slides: SBWS + CAMP + DSWD SAP — Clearing out Confusing Questions Re: the SBWS Application

Thanks to the HR Shouts and Whispers and the wonderful HR Guru, Ms. Cristana Estacio Reclamado, we have finished the Webinar regarding DOLE CAMP, DoF/SSS/BIR’s SBWS and DSWD’s SAP. This is a followup to my post, HR HACKS: 12 CONFUSING QUESTIONS ABOUT BIR/SSS SBWS + DOLE CAMP and DSWD SAP ISSUES.

Here were my slides to the talk for your reference in case you still have any questions. You can download the Presentation on SBWS and SAP 051020 HERE:

Webinar1 - Different Program of the Philippine Government2 - Who is Eligible for SBWS3 - Who is Eligible for SBWS B4 - Two Gives ang SBWS5 - Pwede Bang Bawiin ang SBWS6 - Schedule of SBWS7 - DOLE Recipients, 1 Give Only8 - Companies should Not Apply for Resigned Employees9 - Companies should Not Apply for Resigned Employees B10 - Companies should only apply for ELIGIBLE Employees11 - Companies Should Only Apply for Eligible Employees or Be Liable12 - Wrong TIN, Need to Refund SBWS13 - Wrong Advice by SBWS and SSS Re TIN14 -SBWS and SSS said Keep DOLE CAMP and SBWS15 - DSWD said you are not qualified for SAP if you got CAMP or SBWS

16 - DSWD Secretary Said NO DUPLICATION

17 - DSWD Legal Basis for Rule18 - DSWD Legal Basis for Rule B19 - DSWD Legal Basis for Rule C20 - Target Beneficaries of DSWD SAP21 - Old PWD Sad After DSWD Took Back SAP22 - Summary - Honest Ka Ba23 - Demand for Certification and Official Receipt24 - Demand for Certification and Official Receipt B25 - Demand for Certification and Official Receipt C26 - Demand for Certification and Official Receipt D27 - Demand for Certification and Official Receipt E28 - DSWD Hotlines


ATTENTION: Employers who have submitted applications for the SBWS program

The Social Security System will email to confirm receipt of your application and inform you of how you can input or correct your employees’ bank account details, cellphone numbers, and invalid Taxpayer Identification Number (e.g. 000-000-000), as applicable.

Once notified, you will be given five (5) days from receipt of the email to comply. Make sure that you triple-check the information you submit. We recommend that you perform the necessary corrections as soon as possible to prevent delays in the payouts of your employees.

When encoding corrections, please remember the following:

• Bank account and mobile numbers must be active and should not be shared between two people; duplicate accounts/numbers will be rejected.

• Mobile numbers should be written as: 09171234567 or 09181234567. Do not use +63, dash, spaces or other special characters.

• For PayMaya accounts, input the employee’s correct Mobile number in the format 09171234567 or 09181234567. Do not put any other special characters like, #, dash, spaces, slash. Only input cellphone numbers currently linked to active PayMaya accounts.

• Bank account numbers should be written as a continuous string of numbers (e.g. 1234567890). Do not put a dash (-) in between numbers or any non-numeric character (e.g. #, /).

• TINs should be written with no spaces or characters between numbers. 000000000 or random nine-digit numbers are not acceptable as TINs. As we are promoting compliance, providing invalid and incorrect TINs may result in the forfeiture of the subsidy.

For employers who submitted incorrect TINs (e.g. random nine-digit numbers and mistyped numbers) and those who need to correct the DOLE-CAMP tagging of their employees, please wait for further announcements on how this may be corrected.

Employers are reminded of their sworn undertaking to provide truthful and accurate information in their SBWS application.

Reminder on M Lhullier payouts — deadline to get the money is June 10, 2020.

Update as of May 12, Tuesday:

Please note some changes.

Yes, I know. 😭😭😭

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For Those who Received Double Aid — How Honest Are you?

My letter to my staff wrote like this:


Our company was approved for the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS). The government will give Php 16,000. The first tranche has been released. The second tranche is to follow. This is government’s help to us being a private employee at CompanyName. Please conserve this money to ensure we have enough throughout the ECQ/GCQ. Please note that employees who received SBWS should not resign. If you resign or go AWOL before the period SBWS deems, we will deduct this from the final pay. If there’s not enough, we will still charge this to you and hold you liable.

You received CAMP/SBWS because you are a Private Employee. This is FOR YOU. Please receive it and ENJOY IT. As a Private Worker though, the government EXEMPTS YOU from applying and receiving money from the DSWD’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) as per the DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 09, Series of 2020. DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista reiterated this last April 28 via (13:00-14:08).
Families with members who are working in the private sector or those working in the formal economy are not the target beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP). Duplication of aid is NOT allowed.
This month, DSWD will check their recipients’ list to see if the SAP recipients are truly eligible for SAP. If the applicant is found to have a family member who received CAMP or SBWS, once caught, DSWD will ask for the SAP allocation back. If you know your family is not qualified, please return the money you got from SAP to the local DSWD Office.
IMPORTANT IF YOU RETURN: Please ensure that you receive 1) a Certification that the DSWD Officer received the money , 2) get an Official Receipt, and 3) Take a photo with him showing you turned over the money. Do NOT leave without the Certification. This is proof that you returned the SAP because you know this money is not for you. Attached is a sample of the Certificate to prevent corruption.
You may do so out of your own free will, or wait for the DSWD Officer to ask for the money back. If you voluntarily return the money, that shows a lot about your character.
All I can say is, there is no greater testament to a person’s HONESTY and INTEGRITY than a man who returns money that is not his, at a time he needs it the most, because it was the right thing to do. Please send me the proof that you have done so, and I will share it with others. As to whether you choose to be honest or not, that decision is up to you. Yes, money might be tighter, but at least you didn’t sell your character for just a lousy Php 16,000. Honest people are always wanted in CompanyName.
If there’s any questions, please do not hesitate to approach me. My numbers are ___________.
Warm regards,
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HR Hacks: 12 Confusing Common Questions Answered About DSWD SAP, DOLE CAMP, and SSS SBWS

After receiving (or not receiving) government aid, many people are still confused as to what they are, and what they’re supposed to get. Hence, I consolidated the answers in one post just to clear things up.

1. What is CAMP, SAP and SBWS, and how do they fit together?

They are three programs of many that the government has announced to help the Filipinos during the Expanded Community Quarantine (ECQ):

Social AmeliorationSource: JOINT MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 1, SERIES OF 2020

Here is the team that’s working together to ensure that Filipinos are all being helped:


For the Filipino worker, there’s three programs most relevant to us — DOLE CAMP, DSWD SAP, and DoF/BIR/SSS’s SBWS. Here’s the difference between the three:

In summary — SAP is for the 18 million households that’s pangmahirap. Poorest of the poor. They are as follows:

Target Beneficiaries of SAP
Source:DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 4, Series of 2020

IMPORTANT: Those who are actively working in the Private Sector, retirees with pension, and government officials are DISQUALIFIED from SAP. This is from Memorandum Circular No. 9, Series of 2020:

DSWD Reminder

Meanwhile, DOLE COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) is for the employees of private companies that has experienced ANY reduction of income (e.g., kasama ang WFH and skeletal).

The program ran from March 17 to April 15, 2020. It was a lump sum, one-time Php 5,000 cash aid NOT loan to those who employees in the FORMAL sector, whose income was affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Private employees were eligible to enter regardless of employment status — Contractual, probationary, regular, project based — and salary (e.g., Pwedeng below minimum or walang benefits na employee).

Even if you get a salary, as long as it’s not a full salary, your company can still apply you for CAMP. CAMP only requires an Establishment Report, Payroll of Feb 2020 or earlier sent to the Gmail account. Easy peasy. Disbursement of aid, usually using pera padala remittance centers like Palawan and M Lhullier, or the company bank account



The Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) is a Php 51 billion project of the Department of Finance (DoF), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Social Security System (SSS).  The rules are a bit stricter. Employers have to apply using the system (See 10 Simple Steps on How to Apply for the SBWS Program) and have to submit an Employer’s Undertaking certifying that they are applying only for Eligible Employees.

Eligible employees are for those with TIN Numbers, SSS contributions by that employer, and have experienced ZERO PAY. Those working from home or part of skeletal force is NOT included. Those who have RESIGNED or will resign are NOT INCLUDED.

Employee CriteriaConditions

2. Ilang GIVES ang CAMP, SBWS and SAP?

  • DOLE CAMP: ONE-Time, Non-Conditional Payment of Php 5,000. 
  • DSWD SAP: TWO (2) TIMES the amount depends on your locality. So for NCR of Php 8,000 amount, that’s Php 16,000 government aid.


  • DoF/SSS/BIR SBWS: TWO (2) TIMES the amount on your region. So for NCR of Php 8,000 amount, that’s Php 16,000 government aid. If you received DOLE CAMP, you CAN receive SBWS for one give, for a total of Php 13,000 (Breakdown: Php 5,000 DOLE CAMP + Php 8,000 SBWS = Php 13,000)Wage Subsidy


3. “My employer says the Php 8,000 I got from SBWS is my salary. Bawas sa pinasok ko/hazard pay that I get. Tama ba yon?”


The money you get from CAMP, SBWS and SAP are the government’s REGALO to the Filipino people. Duterte government announced these ayuda as AID to help the Filipino people manage themselves during the ECQ. This is NOT part of your salary:


The boss should NOT deduct this aid to the salary he’s supposed to pay you because you WORKED FOR that wage. What the government gives you is the government. What the boss gives you is HIS own aid and what you worked for.

UNLESS…. You were Disqualified, but the Boss Applied for you Anyway.

If you are disqualified for the aid but you got one, your employer, damay ka din, have to return that money IF THAT GOVERNMENT OFFICE ASKS FOR IT BACK. If nobody asks for it back, no worries. If somebody asks for it back, you have to return.

For sure, if your TIN was 000-000-000 or some random digits, SSS will 1000% ask for it back:

SBWS Advisory 000

If for example, your company or employee is disqualified, SSS MAY ask for it back. If hindi makalusot sa audit, then the company has to pay it back.


My personal opinion, company should not pre-empt the audit and ask for the money back. They are most likely afraid that employees will run away from their obligations if in case nag-audit, and the company is stuck with the bill. If ever they deduct, ask for the money back on your final pay, if the company was not singled out by the SSS. That money is yours, a gift from the Philippine government.

What if we feigned ignorance: “I did not know he will resign! After he received the SBWS, then he resigned. Is it MY fault if he resigned?”

The policy is clear — Company is responsible for their own SBWS application. And the Company is liable if SSS finds out that you’ve applied for a Disqualified Employee.

running away

If you did not know he will resign and he did, return the money the employee got to the government. If your employee tried to trick you and run away with the money that’s not his, why are you angry at the SBWS team? Why are you not angry at the employee who played you for a fool, and yourself because niloko ka niya?

There are many ways to recover the money. The order is clear — Employer has to REFUND the money back to the government. Ask the money back from the employee, be it their final pay or demand letter. Have them pay it back, or pay it back for them.

4. “I am a WFH or part of a skeletal force. Why did I get SBWS from the SSS?”

Possibly, your employer LIED on their application form, or someone did NOT read the fine print on those of are qualified or disqualified.

When an HR submits a SBWS Application Form, they have to CERTIFY that all the information they wrote is TRUE, ACCURATE, and COMPLETE. We have to click AGREE to proceed. Any untruthful statements in punishable with the Penal Code. Company has to certify that the company had fully apprised all its employees of the nature of this application and subsequently notified those who have lacking for the SBWS measure and who have not, including reasons therefor.:

Employer Undertaking

In other words, the HR/Owner certify that they completely understand who this SBWS Program is for, and will only apply IF THE EMPLOYEES FULFILL ALL THE CRITERIA stated below:

Employee CriteriaPregnant

If they are on leave, paid or not, the following employees employees are also not included — those on maternity, paternity, study, sabbatical or any type of leave.

The rule is clear — You should NOT apply for SBWS if the employee is NOT qualified, or to those who have resigned or you know have plans to resign.

This means that if you’re getting a salary within 2 weeks —- in other words, your company paid the employees on on April 15, 2020 assuming you submitted by April 27 —  your employees are NOT ELIGIBLE. SBWS is strictly for employees who 1) are NOT coming to work due to ECQ’s work suspension and 2) Are NOT paid a single cent for at least two weeks. 

If you also know that the employee will resign, go AWOL, or will be terminated, DO NOT APPLY FOR THAT EMPLOYEE.  Otherwise, your application meant you are responsible for what you wrote, and you will be liable to return the money the government gave to that disqualified employee whom you should not have applied for.

NOTE: I do NOT KNOW if SSS will habol the aid applied for by employers who lied on their application. They said they would, but we live in the Philippines and there’s a chance they may not depending on how effective they are. Just be prepared if they do. Because if you applied for 100 employees, at an allocation of Php 16,000 each, that’s Php 1.6 million liability IF you applied for the WFH AND you got caught. If you didn’t get caught, well, live for another day.

5. “But how will the SSS check if we applied for our disqualified employees?”

Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. I don’t really know how they will monitor and evaluate those who lied on their application form. Basically, the ones most at risk are those who are WFH, Skeletal or o leave. That’s easily identifiable. The only question is, will they enforce their threat?  I honestly don’t know.

I don't know

The only logical method is, they can easily check if may hulog si Employer during that period or No Operations. Pag resigned, they can check if that person is still with that company post ECQ. Because if resigned, company will stop paying his/her contributions. Once she moves to another company, another company has to pay their contributions. Personally, we will apply for Temporary Suspension in SSS because we were fully closed during the ECQ just to be safe:

SSS Temporary Suspension

As to how good they are chasing after those liabilities, I do know this — the SSS site was down the entire week during the first announcement of SBWS. However, one week later, high tech na. Employers can now apply and MANUALLY ENCODE their employee information later on. You can even use the Pera Padala function. This was impossible before. So magaling din ang SSS natin. They have a lot of talented technical people on the team developing this online system.

SBWS - Pera Padala MLhullier Option

Wait, why are we even worried? Did the company lie about their application? If hindi naman, what’s to worry about?

6. But it’s their fault for releasing the money? Why is the employer on the line for SBWS Team disbursing the money without properly evaluating it?

These answers are very common on social media —- They got SBWS and sila pa ang galit:

Disqualified ba

Instead of understanding, there’s Anger and Indignation. The SBWS Team SHOULD have double checked and evaluated the applications before distributing the money.  Once nabigay, Touch Move! Why should we be liable to return the money if they are stupid enough to give it?

Hand washing that it’s NOT our fault that Government released the money to a Disqualified Employee even though it was Us, the Company/Applicant, who Attested that we are only applying for Eligible Employees.

This does NOT excuse us for submitting the wrong information. This does NOT excuse us for lying on our application. The order was, EMPLOYERS WILL ONLY SUBMIT APPLICATION FOR QUALIFIED EMPLOYEES. Like how honest should the HR Professionals be?

Employer Undertaking

The government knows the urgency that they trusted the Employers that they will tell the truth and not lie in their Employer’s Undertaking. They thought companies and HR are professional and will be honest. Apparently not. 

But what if the SBWS or SSS call center TOLD us to do this? Take for example the 000-000-000 or “Input any TIN Number” debacle?

The email team is not the most accurate of helpers. Remember this? Four of my staff have to return of money because of the bad advice received from the email chat:

Wrong Advice by SBWS

And then, a few days later on May 5, 2020, I read this:

SBWS Advisory 000

Imagine my anger to see how some of my staff cannot collect because I listened to bad advice. However, after I cooled down a bit, I knew that I was still in the wrong. 000-000-000 is really an invalid TIN. If you handle the BIR, bawal ang 000-000-000. Here’s the BIR answer to the claim, “I don’t have my TIN because I’m only a minimum waged worker.”


If the call center was not trained properly and gave us the wrong answer, this does not still change the fact that we applied for staff who we knew were disqualified in the first place. The law still stands and we have to respect the intended criteria the government set for the aid program. Their ayuda = Their rules.

So if SSS comes and collects, the company has no choice to return the money. We have been warned this from Day 1, so walang dapat magagalit. We have sent staff with the wrong TIN this message, and they have been very understanding because they knew that they were really due to the TIN issue. We sent this text:

CompanyName tried to apply for the SBWS Program for you kahit wala kayong TIN. Due to system error, SBWS paid you the php8,000 to your BDO cash card. Now, they want it back. Can you pls the php8,000 back otherwise magka problema ang lahat sa SSS?
Separate to this, CompanyName is offering a cash loan of php3,000, zero interest payable in 3 months after we return to work. If so, do you want to avail? If so, I need the Promissory Note. Handwritten lang, snap photo and send to me. Bring original copy to store on first day report.
If you want to avail of the loan, please return the php5,000 to CompanyName. If you don’t need a loan, pakibalik yung ₱8,000. Send me photo as proof of balik, and sorry talaga. Hindi atin ang pera. Kailangang ibalik. Sorry for the hassle.
Nagbakasakali lang din ang CompanyName, pero hindi talaga approved pag walang TIN. At least we tried. Sorry talaga.

Fortunately, they were understanding and promised to return the money. Hindi din naman kasi sila magnanakaw. 

7. What if I received SAP kasi nauna yon, and then I also received SBWS+CAMP? Bakit kailangan ibalik ang SAP? May Legal Basis ba Yan?

DO NOT RETURN SBWS or CAMP ha. That’s YOURS. Unless for SBWS if you are disqualified pero your employer applied for it.

As for SAP, let DSWD SECRETARY ROLANDO BAUTISTA explain in his press briefing last April 28, 2020 on why you should return DSWD’s SAP:

Thanks to fellow HR Darwin Gonzales for sharing. Complete video HERE.

This is LEGAL Basis for this announcement na by the way, matagal na from Day 1 pa malinaw na nasabi: DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 9, Series of 2020:
DSWD MC No. 9, Series of 2020
Employees in the private sector, or those in the formal economy, has never been at target recipient of SAP from Day 1. Malinaw ang rules:

DSWD Reminder

Sino ulit ang beneficiaries ng SAP? These people:

Target Beneficiaries of SAP

Source: DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 4, Series of 2020

To be fair, nauna din kasi ang allotment ng DSWD. Tuloy, hindi alam ng tao na bawal pala. But now, alam mo na. Wala nang takbo or excuse na hindi mo alam.

8. So what do I do if I received SAP and then I also received SBWS+CAMP?

35 Bakun residents waive SAP slots to make way for other qualified companies

The DSWD commended in a statement the 35 residents of Barangay Gambang in Bakun, Benguet who waived their slots as SAP recipients “to make way for other qualified families.”


“The individuals’ families were initially targeted as SAP beneficiaries, but they voluntarily waived their slots prior to validation so that other families in need in their communities would be accommodated in the program,” it said.

The 35 Gambang residents are among 2,439 families in the town of Bakun who are set to receive a P5,500 SAP cash subsidy, the DSWD noted.

Look, for the SBWS team, walang isyu pag nakakuha ka ng DSWD. Kasi you are ELIGIBLE for the SBWS because you are part of the private sector.

For DSWD, may issue pag binigyan ka ng SAP tapos may SBWS or CAMP ka pala. Kung ganoon, dapat ibang pamilya na lang nila ibigay ang ayuda —- yung totoong walang nakuha sa CAMP or SBWS or ni isang koseng. Kulang kasi ang household allotment ng SAP para sa isang lugar, tapos doble pa ang kuha mo.

Ang ninakawan mo, hindi government, pero ang kapwang Pilipino. Now, since may doble na, DSWD will ask for the SAP back. Ang tanong, ngayon alam mo na, and may SBWS ka na, ibabalik mo ba?

9. How will the DSWD collect from the disqualified recipients of staff?

One, the DSWD will publish a list of SAP Recipients so that the Unqualified Recipients will Refund their SAP back to the Government.

If you have not received the aid but know someone who is NOT qualified but have received it, you can report them to DSWD in addition to following up on your aid. This is their hotline. Just be warned, it took me 45 minutes to get through a person. Use a landline, but I was able to talk to somebody knowledgeable yesterday to confirm that yes, DSWD is now getting its money back.

DSWD Hotline

The public may report to DSWD, through its Grievance Redress System (GRS), those whom they think are unqualified based on the list. The OpCen shall receive complaints and ensure proper referencing and reporting to concerned office for validation and/or investigation. The concerned office is required to respond to the said report within twenty-four hours from receipt. You can also ask why your family was NOT on the list.

Two, they will exchange notes and find out who was disqualified.

During the daily Network Briefing with Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar last May 7, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said that local or barangay officials who did not screen their Social Amelioration Program (SAP) beneficiaires thoroughly will be held liable. As per the video, DSWD will compare notes and ask the LGUs to refund the money they gave to disqualified recipients. They will compare the list that was submitted to them with that of DOLE CAMP and SSS SBWS, and then will ask the LGU to return the money. LGUs are starting to get nervous and are asking for the sobra aid back:

SBWS Keep the Money2

According to DSWD, they are collecting complaints and will start double checking the disbursements from today, May 8. DSWD 2 will start checking today. Espejo said they assigned at least 40 personnel to “personally validate” the list of eligible and non-eligible families for the SAP assistance, which was intended for residents hardest hit by the impact of the enhanced community quarantine measures amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The teams were properly briefed on the validation guidelines for SAP implementation ahead of their deployment, he said, adding that they were tasked to validate the grievances reported by residents regarding questions on the eligibility of some beneficiaries and related concerns.

Three, not only do LGUs need to refund the money, they will also be investigated for wrongful disbursement. Nograles said, “The LGU will be constrained to reimburse… And there would be investigation for determination of administrative, civil and criminal liability.”

LGUs to Refund

Would-be beneficiaries are subject to undergo the verification process to be done by DSWD Field Offices to validate whether they qualify as an indigent family.

However, DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said given that “it is a working data”, they have amended the guidelines to hasten the distribution so the assistance could be provided immediately to families who are in dire need of the subsidy.

DSWD said with the amended guideline, LGUs may proceed with the distribution of the cash aid within 24 hours upon receipt of the funds from the department, adding that DSWD “will conduct validation within 15 days from receipt of documents from the LGUs that support the completion of the distribution of the emergency subsidies”.

“The validation is important as this will detect the duplication of assistance and to ascertain the eligibility of the beneficiaries,” DSWD added.

Source: LGUs to Refund the Budget of Disqualified SAP Recipients, April 21, 2020

This is why many LGUs are starting asking for the money back. An old PWD was sad after the DSWD took back his SAP cash because of a 4Ps family member. One of his grandchildren shared the story on social media. While many sympathized with the old man’s plight, there are also a lot who think that the DSWD was right in getting their money back.


The family followed his request and spent around Php1,000 of the SAP cash he received to buy the aforementioned things, plus some vitamins and items for personal hygiene the old man needed. It was a good thing they did not spend all the money because the DSWD asked them to give the money back.

Apparently, someone reported the old man to the DSWD, claiming that he is not qualified for aid because one of his family members is a 4Ps beneficiary.

Baclao admitted that this is true; however, the 4Ps beneficiary is not living in the same house as his grandfather. The situation is complicated, however, because in the comments section of his post, he explained that his mother receives the money on behalf of her sibling, the 4Ps beneficiary, because the children are living at their house.

10. I received SAP before my employer employed me to SSS’ SBWS. What now? Hindi ko naman sinadya magka-doble. 

Look, how honest are we? And how much do we care about our fellowmen? Anong klaseng tao ka ba?

Pinoy pride

I find it hypocritical that if we lambast the government for being corrupt and stealing from the poorest of the poor, and then we ourselves do the same thing and took an allocation that’s supposed for them, when we ourselves were already given.

The SAP Program is limited — I talked to somebody where the locality has 1,900 poor households. Pero the budget is only for 700 households. Just imagine if you yourself are from that household with no allocation. So you had no CAMP, no SAP and no SBWS, and then you see your neighbor have all three. In truth, the budget cannot pay for everyone. There will be some with ZERO. Your cooperation is helpful for

sap programSource: LIST: Gov’t releases P12.4 billion cash aid to Metro Manila cities

For every extra aid you get, another family was NOT able to get because the government funds are limited. That means, your family got double the allocation, while another got zero. If you got aid, thank you. But please do not deprive another family of money just because you took MORE.

cash aid

Now that you KNOW, can you keep quiet and take the money that isn’t yours? As I’ve said, mahirap na decision yan. Money is still money, and everyone needs money. But if we take money that’s not ours at the expense of others, how do we in good conscience say that we are good people? How can we not say that it’s not stealing if people ask for money that’s not supposed to be yours back?


IF you are a private employee = get CAMP + SBWS. Take it and spend it. Congrats, it’s yours. Thanks to the government for their help. That’s at least Php 13,000-16,000 for you.

IF you are from the INFORMAL sector (Hindi pwedeng private employee) = only take SAP. That’s Php 16,000. Two gives yan. Antayin lang ang 2nd tranche. May delays lang, pero darating din.

If you see someone who got a lot of ayuda, you can complain to DSWD about them. Hotlines here.

DSWD Hotline

If you work in the formal sector and got SAP, mali yon. Ibalik dapat local DSWD ang nakuhang pera kasi niloko ninyo ang SAP. Keep the CAMP+SBWS na lang kasi doon ka talaga qualified.

Si DSWD ang maghahabol. Hindi si SBWS. Pag nahuli ng DSWD na nagsinungaling ka, they will habol it pag nakita sa listahan may nakuha kayong doble or triple and ask you to RETURN THE MONEY TO DSWD.

If you received CAMP + SAP, Or SBWS + SAP, the DSWD requests for you to return the SAP to your DSWD branch. Please make sure that you signed Certificate you returned the money. Screenshot mo na lang na binalik ninyo, and share the good you did for your fellowman.

Hope this clears things out.

11. What if we have multiple members in the family who got CAMP + SAP + DSWD? Pwede ba yon?

Okay, let’s assume that your family has four members who received:

  1. Senior Citizen Mother is PWD and has an ID —- SAP gave php8,000 x 2 = php16,000
  2. Husband works for Company A, SBWS gave Php8,000 x 2  = php16,000
  3. Wife works for Company B, SBWS gave Php8,000 x 2  = php16,000
  4. Brother got CAMP + SBWS working for Company C = php5000 from DOLE plus php8000 SBWS tranche

If you compute this, this is a total of Php 61,000 for the Family ha. Under ONE ROOF. So what to do?

DOLE, SBWS and SSS says, Keep their ayuda because you earned this being a member of the formal economy. This is correct. That’s still Php 45,000. Let this be a lesson na it’s better that we have multiple people working in the private sector. If you are ELIGIBLE, and your company applied for you, that money is for you.

So ang KEEP for a total of php45,000 ay:

  1. Husband works for Company A, SBWS gave Php8,000 x 2  = php16,000
  2. Wife works for Company B, SBWS gave Php8,000 x 2  = php16,000
  3. Brother got CAMP + SBWS working for Company C = php5000 from DOLE plus php8000 SBWS tranche


SBWS Keep the Money

But DSWD said that you have to return SAP if you get CAMP and SBWS.

SBWS Keep the Money2And then may video reminder pa si DSWD SECRETARY ROLANDO BAUTISTA last April 28:

So what is the correct thing to do? Is it pag hinabol ka, saka ibabalik? Wow ha. What happened to our Bayanihan Culture? Now, it’s everyone for themselves?


Ibalik ang SAP. Yun lang ang hinahabol. Hindi naman yung iba.

12. How do you return your SAP to DSWD? Ayaw mo namang nakawin ng corrup officials diba?

This is correct. I would suggest that you return it to DSWD branch and make sure you receive a certification that you are returning the money.

As of today, DSWD will only start acting on the grievances and will contact the ones with double ayuda for them to return the money. If you think that you will likely return the money in the future, my suggestion for you is to:

a. Do NOT lie on your SAP form — Clarify with the LGU or DSWD if you are qualified for aid. If you are because of a family member that is qualified, they will tell you. So if they gave you the money with you telling the truth, the SAP is yours. Feel free to spend the money. Kasi sabi ng DSWD, eligible ka.
b. Pero if nagkamali si DSWD ng bigay, KEEP the money and WAIT FOR DSWD’S INSTRUCTIONS TO RETURN IT. They are double checking and will ask for it back IF hindi po qualified ang pamilya mo dahil mayroon na po kayong ibang ayuda. 

c. If you return to the DSWD, make sure that you receive a CLEARANCE that the money was returned. Do not leave without a clearance. 

IMPORTANT: Make sure you have the:

* Amount Returned for the Purpose of Re-Allocation to a More Less Fortunate Family
* Receiver Name,
* Receiver Position
* Photo Receiver
* Signature and Date
* Cellphone or Contact Number ng Receiver

d. Take a photo to be sure. Post the photo on your social media that you’ve returned the money because this is a very honest thing you are doing. You make us proud to be Filipino. Dahil sayo, maraming matutulungan iba na hindi pa nakakuha.

If you don’t want to return the money despite receiving double or triple ayuda, sa iyo na po yung decision. As I’ve said, it’s not an easy decision when it comes to money. There’s always a justification to keep the money. But the question is — Are you Honest, or Dishonest? Ikaw lang naman ang makakasagot niyan.

I hope the Q&A clarifies. If there’s any correction to the information here, please PM me ASAP so that I can make correction. If there’s any update, I will correct. This information is based on the collation of data found on multiple sources as of posting date. Thanks for the patience, and sorry ang haba.

Good luck and mabuhay ang Pilipino!

More fun

Posted in Advice, Ask Tina in Manila, Business, covid-19, Current Events, Employee Relations, entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, Finance, How to Manage People, Human Resources (HR), Lists, Philippines, Polarizing Opinion, Reflections, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Respect in a Time of COVID-19

Respect is very important in the time of COVID-19.

During the time of COVID-19, I am reminded of the word RESPECT.


There’s three ways we should respect — Respect for SELF, Respect for your WORK, and Respect for OTHERS. You gotta have all three to have a fruitful and peaceful life.

How does Respect works?

Respect for Self

A staff member asked me what she would put in her Social Amelioration Program (SAP)Form. She was listed as the head of the household and was asked to fill up the form. If she got approved, her household would get Php 8,000 twice from the government in two tranches, one for each month for two months.


Based on the news, I know that if you have a job and a decent job, you will be disqualified for the SAP program. The government only wants to help the poorest of the poor, and if you do not qualify as poor poor, then the help would be extended to somebody else.

sap program

The best candidates of the SAP program are those who really do not have any money, no job, and no sustenance. Basically, families where there’s really no money coming in. My staff who has been in her position for a year, and is earning more than minimum wage is not a candidate for the SAP Program.

She asked me if she should lie about her position and her salary in the SAP Form. “If I put that I am minimum wage, I will have a bigger chance of getting the Php8,000,” she said. You can see that she’s troubled by it which is why she’s asking for advice.

Personally, I would not take it against her if she lied. The form is hers, and I will not judge her if she did not say the truth.

However, I advised her to always be true to herself. Even if people did not see or hear, you will always know what you did, and it’s better to be honest in all your dealings, because only then, will we live a life of real freedom.

“Pag ako, I will be honest,” I told her. “Masarap maging honest. Pag mayroon, great! Pag wala, good din. Kasi may biyaya pang ibibigay sa akin ang Diyos.”

sap program aid

(If it was me, I would be honest. It’s a good feeling to be honest all the time. If they give you the aid, great. If not, it’s still good. God will still give you many blessings if He didn’t give you this one.)

God has a funny way of disciplining our family.

I sh*t you not — If I found Php 1,000 on the street, I have to return it. Because if I don’t return it, God allows us to lose Php 10,000 even more than the money that was found.


I don’t know how to corrupt officials can do it.

They steal millions from the people and never get caught. This is a joke that’s going around on the Internet. It was funny as hell.

Juan Ponce Enrile Joke

In good humor, those who are alleged to be corrupt do not die. It is usually the good people that die, but the bad people are like cockroaches that never die.

I’m just a normal person. I think it’s important to live an honest life. When you live an honest life, be a good person, and treat people well, I think people will likewise pay it back. If the person you helped didn’t pay you back, a lot of other people will.

feeling loved

If you’re a jerk, people will hate you and plot to kill you. But if you’re nice and helpful, people will appreciate it even if you don’t get a payback. Even if you get nice things, people will celebrate your successes and won’t be jealous of you. What goes around, really comes around.

So always have respect for yourself — Always be a better part of you even when people aren’t looking. As they say, if you exude respect, you too will also get respect.

Respect 3

Respect for your Work

There is no greater evidence that we should pay respect to our work than what happened during COVID-19.

respect for work

I had around eight people resign in February after the peak Christmas season. Our company gives high commissions so as soon as the peak season was over, a lot of people cashed out and resigned.

I tried to stop them and persuade them to stay. They already knew the job, our systems and we know they can perform. However, many were adamant to move. Their reasons ranged from taking care of their kids, to working abroad, to finding a new job elsewhere. Despite our calls to get them to stay, they wanted to switch. So we had to clamor in hiring 8 new people to come in.

When the Expanded Community Quarantine (ECQ) happened, the President declared everything to be closed, leaving everyone into Forced Leave at No work, No Pay. People with no savings were stuck at home without a single cent.

As a company manager, we discussed the issue with the Shareholder and decided that we couldn’t let our people starve. Even before the ECQ started, our target is that people have a way to get money during every payroll, be it as a financial aid, pro-rata 13th month pay or salary loan. This plan I chronicled in my post, HR Hacks: How to Support Staff During the Lockdown.


At that time, we did not know that the government would come in and help.  We didn’t know about DOLE CAMP, SAP or Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS). All we knew was that we had to step in and help. The Business is closed and we will consolidate our resources, but our staff needs help so the company should step in.

Employees first, not Business first.

The funny thing was, it only took the ECQ to prove to our employees that they should be more respectful for their work. They should not treat good work callously and move from place to place. Instead, they should stay in a company and be grateful that they have work. Because you’d never know when you’ll lose it.

A lot of different companies had been laying off people left and right in preparation for a post ECQ landscape. A lot of people are left with zero money or support during the ECQ. Their employers didn’t even get a single cent.

For us, since we are closed, we did not fire anyone. If we do, it will be because of their own lack of performance instead of business losses. That would have to wait post ECQ. Instead, our priority is to support our staff and make sure they have food to eat. In lieu of this, those who have been with us got CAMP, financial assistance, and hopefully SBWS. Say what you must but they are better off than many other people during this crisis season.

Furthermore, those who have been with us for awhile got the full benefits of financial assistance, CAMP and SBWS. The criteria for CAMP is that you have to be employed before February 2020 or earlier. In SBWS, a major criteria is you should be employed in your company from January 2020 or earlier. In some companies, you need to have started December 1, 2019 to be eligible for CAMP.

No matter how you spin it, those who have stayed long in a company are most qualified for the most benefits. If you are no longer part of the company, you don’t get the benefits at all. So malas lang talaga yung mga nag-resign — They don’t have a job, they don’t have savings, they don’t have any financial aid, they don’t have SAP, and they most likely will not have SBWS.


Call it unlucky but in a way, I did ask them not to quit their jobs in February. If they stuck around, they would have been taken care of during the ECQ. Sayang lang talaga. 

Respect for Others

During ECQ, there’s no greater concern about Respect for Others. The ECQ is not really for the sake of the individual, but for the good of the community. In other words, keeping R or Rate of Infection lower than 1, so that 20 infected people won’t be 51,000 infected.

We have to do our part in conquering this disease. Now is NOT the time to be selfish.

A former staff of mine was caught breaking quarantine, and actually went to her parent’s house in a company car to pick up the mother. Together, they then went to a relative’s party where they ate, drank and were merry.

dorm house

This would not have been a problem if it was just her. The problem was that she lived in the company staff house, and her actions placed her colleagues’ lives at risk.

The ECQ is not a respect for themselves. It is an issue of public health.

Here’s the clip of Andrew Cuomo, Mayor of New York City, as he talks to a pro-Trump reporter who says that staying at home equals death:

“The Illness is death. The illness may be MY death as opposed to your death. How can the cure be worse than the Illness if the illness is death?

Economic hardship is very bad. Not death.

Emotional stress from being locked in the house, bad. Not death.

Domestic violence on the increase, NOT Death.

And it’s not the death of someone else.  This is not about you. It’s not about me. It’s around WE. Get your head around the WE concept.


Nothing comes before the Public Health risk of somebody else’s life. And that’s where we are.

You want to go to work, go take a job as an essential worker. Do it tomorrow. Go take a job as an essential worker. You can get a job as an essential worker.

We stay at home because we want to slow down the rate of infection. We practice social distancing because we do not want to infect others.

APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Philippines

We wear a face mask not only to protect ourselves but also to protect others.


That’s why we need to respect the tenets of the ECQ. Many people are complaining that they are stuck at home and many has called it as “house arrest.” 

But we need to see that this virus as a fight we need to conquer together. Cuomo was correct. This is not about you. This is not about me. This is about WE.

In Summary

No matter how much money we have or do not have, at the end of the day, all we have is our own sense of RESPECT. We need to respect ourselves, respect our work and respect for others. Only if we can do all three can we live peaceful, fruitful lives.


How about you? What was your deep profound insight during the ECQ? Do you have anything to add aside from these three? Comments always appreciated!

Posted in Business, covid-19, Education, Employee Relations, entrepreneurship, Filipino Men/Women, How to Manage People, Human Resources (HR), leadership, Leadership Series, Life lessons, money, Philippines, Ramblings, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment