₱3.3 billion worth of loans have been approved by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to help the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) without requiring collateral, meanwhile, the DSWD released ₱138.15 million livelihood grant to beneficiaries in the Western Visayas region.
Under the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said P3.38 billion worth of loans have been approved so far, covering 25,920 borrowers. The said program is being administered by its financing arm Small Business (SB) Corp.
Lopez added that less than 10 percent of the loans are for tourism-related establishments. “The loan take-up has already improved, from about 200 applications a week at the start to 1,000 a week. But we were expecting more applications than these numbers,” he said.
As the SB Corp. increased its processing capacity to about 4,000 applications per week, the DTI continues to invite MSMEs to tap loans.
“We should continue with this micro-lending program because there are still many takers, still in need of working capital loans to save their operations and jobs,” Lopez said.
According to Lopez, the DTI sees that the ECQ can not continue for a long time given how it affected the economy and jobs.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also said another extension of the ECQ in the NCR Plus might not be possible due to the lack of funds available to assist those who are affected by the restrictions.
“What we’re looking at is a gradual movement towards reopening the sectors that are low risk,” he said.
On the other hand, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) released a total of ₱138.15 million to 13,647 qualified beneficiaries in Western Visayas for the Livelihood Assistance Grant this March 2021.
The DSWD regional program coordinator for the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Mary Ann Masculino, said that the grant was initiated under the Bayanihan Act I and is also one of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) the department developed.
"They have been established as affected by the pandemic," Masculino said.
According to the data of the DSWD, there are 1,067 beneficiaries in Aklan that availed the program, which was worth Php 16 million, already disbursed this March.
Moreover, in Antique, a total amount of Php 57 million is disbursed to 3,955 beneficiaries; Guimaras with Php 810,000 for 67 recipients; Iloilo with Php 44.34 million for 5,658; and Php 20 million in Negros Occidental for 2,900 beneficiaries.
Masculino noted that the LAG is an outright grant, which means that the beneficiaries have no obligations in paying it back to the DSWD.
However, they are required to liquidate the funds they were given after 40 days to ensure their plan for grant utilization is followed.
Furthermore, she said that the distribution in several municipalities of Iloilo is almost finished and is now preparing for the upcoming second batch of the said program.
This year they are targeting 11,226 families. Though, they reminded the first batch is no longer qualified to avail the next round.
Sources: PhilStar and Philippine News Agency (PNA)