December 8, 2022

The Department of Trade and Industry reported the P5 billion microfinancing allotted for the micro, small, and medium enterprises under the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), is nearing full utilization as it has already processed and approved P4.5B in loans that covered 30,408 applications as of June 9.

The loans are under the Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (Cares) microfinancing program of the SBCorp.   

“In view of this, there is a need to replenish this fund if we are to lend out to more MSMEs affected by the pandemic,” said Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez.  

The Cares program, which was established to help the country’s MSMEs recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, draws P1B in funds from the 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA) and P4B from Bayanihan 2.

However, latest data from Cares showed the fund is nearing completion of its P5B fund allocation for MSMEs.  

Lopez said he expects Cares will use up its target fund allocation by the end of June and will require replenishment as the country continues to rebuild economically from the ongoing worldwide pandemic.  

Despite this, Lopez encouraged MSMEs to continue applying for the CARES loan.

“With this microfinancing program providing collateral-free and interest-free loans to businesses affected by the pandemic, our MSMEs can begin to rebuild their respective businesses and take part in the recovery that has started around the world,” Lopez said.  

The DTI is also working with the Department of Tourism in promoting the other side of Cares, P6B Cares for Tourism Rehabilitation and Vitalization of Enterprises and Livelihood (Cares for Travel) program for tourism-related businesses heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two agencies expect an acceleration in the use of Cares for travel as more tourism economic activities are starting to reopen with the easing of community quarantine restrictions.   

Lopez expressed optimism with the arrival of more vaccines this month and the rollout of vaccination for the 35 million A4 priority group or economic frontliners, the overall vaccination rollout will be boosted, which will increase consumer and business confidence in the business sector.  

“The country’s vaccination program will prove to be a timely shot in the arm as well for the economy, as it will lead to continuous reopening with less threat of a surge, thus creating a good momentum for sustained recovery, more investments and greater employment opportunities for the Filipinos.” – Press release