February 3, 2023

Almost half of the 26,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises operating in the Cordillera are still unable to restart their operation since the Covid-19 pandemic started in March.
Based on the Aug. 31 survey of the Department of Trade and Industry-Cordillera, about 50 to 60 percent of local MSMEs are able to get back to business, and only on 50 percent capacity.
DTI-Cordillera Director Myrna Pablo in a radio interview said those were able to reopen their business are mostly engaged in food business.
Pablo said many of the MSMEs in the provinces that reopened cannot go back on full operation due to lack of public transport, which they use in bringing their products to markets, particularly in Baguio City, which remains the main market of products in the region.
MSMEs working on 50 percent operating capacity produce based on orders or order taking at the moment, which means if they normally produce products worth P100,000 a month, right now they only produce worth P50,000 or even less.
“Getting back to business is happening slowly but surely. Right now very few are operating on 100 percent capacity, and those who could are those engaged in food business since it is a necessity at these times,” Pablo said.
She added even groceries, which have remained open during the enhanced community quarantine, are operating at 80 percent capacity since they still are not getting complete stocks due to existing travel restrictions and at times delivery of stocks are delayed.
Some MSMEs engaged in manufacturing also cannot restart production due to difficulty in getting raw materials, how to transport them, or who will buy their products at this time.
As many are meeting challenges in terms of transportation of products, Pablo said DTI is encouraging local MSMEs to be self-sustainable or self-reliant by producing the commodity that is needed within the area where they are based, although the fact remains that their buyers will be limited.
The DTI-Cordillera through its attached agency, Small Business Corporation, has secured P150 million under the Bayanihan Act 1 provided as loan assistance to MSMEs in the region at an average of P17,000 per MSME-borrower. In Baguio City, the city government allotted a P100M stimulus package to help its MSMEs recover from the crisis also via loan assistance. – Hanna C. Lacsamana