Following up on my previous article based on the errors and mistakes made by the combined efforts of the BIR, SSS, and DOF, also known as the SBWS Program Task Force, it has finally come to light that their claims are a reality, not just another mere fantasy.
If you recall, in my previous article, “SBWS ADVISORY MISTAKES: How the DoF, SSS, and BIR Have Got It Wrong”, I pointed out that the SBWS Program Task Force (SPTF) had issued PowerPoint slides about changes to the original requirements for the return of the SBWS subsidy for those who resigned without actually having a new Resolution to make the effective changes.
It is a fact of law that, without a new law to update the previous one, the original laws prevail. This also goes for Labor Advisories, DOLE Department Orders, SSS Memorandum, etc. No amount of statements to the contrary can change any of these issuances without a new resolution or memo or order.
But this is exactly what the SSS, BIR, and DOF did a few weeks ago. Some of you may remember me posting in Facebook groups about how there is no legal update to SBWS Program Task Force Resolution No. 2 that changes the terms from “period of enhanced community quarantine and other forms thereof” to “enhanced community quarantine, modified enhanced community quarantine, or general community quarantine”, and then on to “enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine”.
An alleged employee of the DOF even posted these supposed changes on several groups in Facebook stating that the changes were already effective from June 10, 2020. If you remember, THIS comment was posted on Facebook in several groups for HR staff stating categorically that the changes had already taken effect.
In this comment, posted in the Facebook “Philippines HR Group” on Thursday June 11, 2020, at 12:09am, the DOF Employee stated that the website was “updated” to include this new ruling on June 10, a fact that the employee was only too happy to share with thousands of group members across Facebook.
The same DOF employee made this comment the day after (Friday June 12, 2020, at 9:54 pm) on another post in the same Facebook Group, claiming that the website given was already updated with this, a fact that I informed was not the case at the time.
However, it appears that this alleged employee was incorrect. And in fact, that the DOF was incorrect, as was the SSS and the BIR. All three departments claimed that the Resolution and criteria for returning the SBWS payments on resignation had been updated on June 10, 2020.
In fact, the latest resolution to come out that actually DID make the necessary was actually dated June 13, 2020!
How is this possible? How can the DOF, SSS, and BIR announce changes to the laws BEFORE the resolution was even passed by the SPTF? Do they have a TIME MACHINE???
As you can see from the actual SBWS Program Task Force Resolution No. 5, it was “approved” on June 13, 2020. It was also approved and signed on that date by none other than Aurora C. Ignacio, President and CEO of the Social Security System; by Arnel SD. Guballa, Deputy Commissioner of the BIR; and Antonio Joselito G. Lambino II, Assistant Secretary of the DOF.
I have been trying to get hold of this Resolution for more than two weeks, ever since the first alleged “update” was given, supposedly on June 2, 2020. Not once has anyone from BIR, SSS, or DOF answered my emails, nor could any of the people I phoned in those three government departments point me to anywhere where I could obtain a copy of this elusive resolution.
And now I know why.
The Resolution, which so many people said was updated on the DOF and SSS and BIR websites, not to mention the whole SBWS website on Google Pages, was not issued to anyone until it was uploaded to the SBWS Website on June 24, 2020, at 11:05am.
If you go to the SBWS Google Site, where the rules and requirements for the SBWS payments are located, at https://sites.google.com/dof.gov.ph/small-business-wage-subsidy, you can scroll down to SBWS Resolution No. 5, and then click the link in the top right (pop-out) to expand it in a new window. Then click the three vertical dots in the top right and click on “details”. Here, you can see the date it was created and modified on this website by one “Isabella Mari Jhocson”. Almost two weeks AFTER it was approved.
Despite having been issued on June 13, 2020, the Resolution was not made available to the general public until June 24, 2020. Causing confusion and disarray in companies across the country who did not know whether to follow the last resolution issued or the “faked” slides that advised the resolution had been updated THREE DAYS beforehand.
Not only has this whole issue been a major “cluster*%&$”, but the incompetence of the SSS, DOF, and BIR has even caused complications in how lawyers can advise their clients, both companies and employees, on the actuality of the SBWS returns policy.
I will NOT apologize to all those I argued with about this. Nor will I ever back down on what I said. At the time I said it, this Resolution had NOT BEEN WRITTEN.
So I would like to thank all those who argued with me and claimed it was issued on the DOF website, the SSS website, and the BIR website on June 10, 2020, for their arrogance and stupidity which pushed me to continue to follow up this issue.
Maybe next time the employee of the DOF will show us the time machine used to get the information. You know who you are.