Ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) welcomes the guests, speakers, participants, and stakeholders in today’s launching of the PAYONG App. We would also like to thank the German development agency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (or GIZ), as well as the Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation, Incorporated (or CLFI) in partnering with us to help our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

As the world rebuilds in the wake of COVID-19, our MSMEs are playing a vital socio-economic role in their communities as they help the country build back better. In particular, MSMEs are providing products and services, employment opportunities, and local revenues that are critical during this time of health crisis.

As such, DTI, GIZ, and CLFI collaborated on the “COVID-19 Emergency Measures to Support MSMEs” project to increase the adaptive capacity and ensure business continuity of affected MSMEs during disasters and pandemics. The PAYONG App we are launching today is a component of this project, a web and mobile-based application for MSMEs to provide Risk Assessment, as well as a Learning Management System offering e-learning modules. These modules range from Entrepreneurship to Business Continuity Planning and Financial Literacy, including information on insurance and insurance products for MSMEs.

And all of these will be made available on your smartphones or on your computer, wherever you are in the country.

This support for MSMEs is important, given that the Philippines is the 4th most vulnerable country in the world to natural disasters, with resulting economic losses estimated to reach US$1.6M in the past decade. The impact of these disasters is disproportionately higher for MSMEs, given constraints to their resources affecting their resiliency. Only 75% of MSMEs are able to re-open after major disasters, and they always lose between Php250,000 to Php10M, which affects their survival, much more their recovery. In the wake of the economic challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our MSMEs have also been severely affected.

That’s why DTI is always open to collaborative efforts with private sector partners, as well as development agencies, in providing resources for our MSMEs. This project—and the PAYONG app in particular—will empower MSMEs to bounce back in the shortest possible time by aiding them to assess and prepare against risks. This app also offers possible solutions like actual insurance products on the market. Through this project, we strengthen the resiliency of MSMEs not only in business but in the bigger context of the supply chain.

On our part, the government remains committed in its support for MSME development, especially in times of crises, by continuously developing and implementing programs to improve their operational readiness and resilience. This is also in line with the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last year for the government to intensify its assistance for MSMEs during this “New Normal.”

One example is our COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) Program managed by the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) and offering microfinancing loans to MSMEs affected by the pandemic. As of May 26, the program has approved loan applications amounting to Php4.27B in response to 29,529 loan applications.

In closing, we would like to thank again all our stakeholders—especially GIZ and CLFI—that contributed on the development of this innovative mobile application. We would also like to cite the Philippine Trade Training Center – Global MSME Academy (or PTTC-GMEA) as they will be the one hosting, operating, managing, and maintaining the app moving forward. PTTC likewise worked with our team at the Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (BSMED), as well as GIZ, CLFI, and the Philippine Disaster Research Foundation PDRF (PDRF) in developing the learning content of the system.

We hope that the MSMEs present here today will utilize this app to assist you with your business operations, as well as help you adapt and prepare for any future risks. DTI remains committed to your success as this will ensure greater inclusive growth for our country and provide our people a more comfortable and greater quality of life.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 31 May 2021