September 23, 2023

The Department of Trade and Industry-Cordillera said 424 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have applied for small business aid under the agency’s P700-million enterprise rehabilitation fund (ERF).

DTI-Cordillera Director Myrna Pablo said the region has requested over P75M for the loan program, which is payable in five years with an interest of 0.5 percent per month or six percent per annum.

“The loan amount ranges from P10,000 to P500,000. Ito ay para sa mga micro and small enterprises,” Pablo said, adding they expect to release the funds in June.

She said the MSMEs can use as collateral fixed assets like the selling area or the manufacturing or production areas.

She said during the enhanced community quarantine due to the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, around 90 percent of over 24,000 MSMEs in the region stopped operations. Around 60 percent of them are based in Baguio.

Nawalan na sila ng business. Hindi sila kumita at ‘yung iba nasira ang inventory katulad ng food na nag-expire. Hindi na nila nagawa at hindi rin nila mai-transport ‘yung finished product so nagkaroon ng effect sa operation,” Pablo said.

She said the loan can be used to pay the amortization of vehicles they purchased for their business, as working capital, or can be used to buy raw materials needed in their business.

She said small businesses like those engaged in retailing can avail of the loan but the agency prioritizes DTI-assisted MSMEs engaged in the production of manufactured items that add value to raw agricultural products, like those in the strawberry jam production.

Pablo said during the ECQ, retailing like sari-sari stores were allowed to operate, allowing them to continue earning, unlike many of the MSMEs which totally stopped operation.

She said the DTI provincial office does an initial validation of the MSMEs’ applications, which have been submitted to the Small Business Corporation, an attached unit of the DTI that handles and approves the loan request.

Pablo said the ERF is the commitment of DTI in the Bayanihan Act.

She said the department announced the filing as early as April, which was overwhelmingly received as shown by the hundreds of applications the agency received. – PNA