March 3, 2024

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the Covid-19 pandemic got a boost from the government through the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (P3 CARES) program spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry through the Small Business Corporation.
In the Cordillera, 109 MSMEs have been initially approved as beneficiaries of the program with a total loan amount of P3,947,000 that can be used to restart or reestablish their business undertakings. Six are from Abra, 15 from Apayao, 33 from Benguet, 12 from Ifugao, 20 from Kalinga, and 23 from Mountain Province.
The beneficiaries from the region along with those from the National Capital Region had a simultaneous signing activity done via video teleconferencing on July 3, witnessed by DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez, SBC President and CEO Ma. Luna Cacanando, and SBC acting chairperson and DTI Usec. Blesila Lantayona.
 SBC North Luzon Group Head Arell Banez said the P3 CARES is part of the social amelioration program of the government in the form of loan assistance for MSMEs ranging from P10,000 to P500,000 depending on the size of the business with zero interest, and six months moratorium or payment starts on the seventh month after the release date.
A total of P2,837,000 for 37 beneficiaries in the Cordillera have been released.
Banez said they hope to release a total of P3,947,000 to 72 beneficiaries within the month.
DTI Regional Director Myrna Pablo thanked DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez for enrolling P1B P3 emergency financing fund to the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Pablo said from around 25,000 MSMEs in the region they are monitoring, 90 percent either closed down or downscaled their operation due to the pandemic. So far 1,105 MSMEs in the region have applied in the program.
She called on the P3 CARES beneficiaries to nurture the seed capital for them to recover fast and bring their businesses back to where it was before the pandemic happened.
Among the beneficiaries, Brinalyn Lontoc of Taloy Sur in Tuba, Benguet expressed gratitude to the government program as their family’s food processing and pasalubong business, which stopped operation for two and a half months, can now restart through a P20,000 loan. She said she will use it to replace stocked-up food processing equipment and to buy raw materials.
Jefferson Apola of La Trinidad, Benguet, who was awarded with a P75,000 loan, also expressed gratitude as it will be a big help in restarting his computer rental and snack house business, which has been closed for almost four months now. – Carlito C. Dar