By Kris Crismundo
MANILA – As more business establishments are allowed to reopen under general community quarantine (GCQ) areas, the Small Business (SB) Corp. has started accepting applications for low-interest loans for entrepreneurs in areas under GCQ on Monday.
In a statement, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said there is a PHP1-billion fund earmarked for the Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program that will be channeled through DTI’s financing arm, SB Corp.
The CARES program aims to help micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to recover from their losses and help them restart their businesses after the suspension of many business operations during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period.
All cities, provinces, and regions, except for Cebu City and Mandaue City, which are under ECQ, as well as provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales and Laguna, and the National Capital Region, which are under modified ECQ, can now tap DTI’s CARES Program.
“Micro enterprises with asset size of not more than PHP3 million may borrow an amount ranging from PHP10,000 to PHP200,000, while small enterprises with asset size of not more than PHP15 million may borrow loan amount not exceeding PHP500,000,” the DTI said.
But those only with existing businesses can tap the loan offered by SB Corp.
“Interest rate shall be at 0.5 percent per month (discounted basis); and (a) grace period of six months on principal payments,” it added.
Interested loan applicants can download the application form from SB. Corp. website http://www.sbgfc.org.ph and can be submitted to SB Corp. office or Negosyo Centers in GCQ and modified GCQ areas.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier said his department’s low-interest loan programs will be rolled out once ECQ is lifted as these programs require the inspection of businesses.
Aside from the CARES program, Lopez cited other financial assistance programs under DTI for enterprises affected by strict quarantine measures due to Covid-19 pandemic.
These include the PHP30-billion MSME financing program in partnership with state-owned banks Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the Land Bank of the Philippines, PHP500-million loan for medium enterprises, and the PHP203-million Livelihood Seeding Program or the Negosyo sa Barangay.
Government data showed there are over 1 million business establishments in the country, of which, 99.52 percent or 998,342 are MSMEs.
Most of these MSMEs are located in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) regions. (ia/PNA)