The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reported that the P5B microfinancing allotted for the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) under the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.), is nearing full utilization as it has already processed and approved P4.5B in loans that covered 30, 408 applications, as of 9 June 2021. The loans are under the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) microfinancing program of the SB Corp. 

“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 Secretary Ramon M. 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, the latest data from CARES showed that the fund is nearing completion of its P5B fund allocation for MSMEs.

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

Despite this, the trade chief further 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,” Sec. Lopez stressed.

The DTI is also working together with the Department of Tourism (DOT) 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 utilization of CARES for travel as more tourism economic activities are starting to reopen with the easing of community quarantine restrictions. 

Sec. Lopez expressed optimism that with the arrival of added vaccine doses 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 trade chief said, “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.” ♦

Date of Release: 11 June 2021