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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is keen on fasttracking the revival of Marawi City’s illustrious business environment, as the agency looks to provide more assistance to affected Maranao entrepreneurs.

“We plan to allocate more budget for this year to support the Bangon Marawi programs to provide livelihood assistance to around 80% of identified internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 2018,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

DTI Regional Operations Group (ROG) Undersecretary Zenaida C. Maglaya said that the agency has set aside Php 50 million to fund the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) project and will seek additional budget to fund the provision of livelihood starter kits, micro loans, mobile rice mills, tricycles, construction of public markets, and provision of retail spaces in major malls to promote Maranao products, among others.

“We will continue to provide assistance to our brothers and sisters in Marawi. As of now we are working to assist Maranao entrepreneurs with micro loans through the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso or P3, mobile rice mills, tricycles, and equipment,” Maglaya said.

The P50 million SSF fund will help address the needs of Maranao entrepreneurs in the aspect of loomweaving,wood working, and brasswares by providing equipment that matches their needs, she added.

The agency, through the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp), also released a total of P375,000 micro loans in the form of P3 to 37 Maranao borrowers, who were also recipient of DTI’s business starter kits, received assistance from DTI.

SB Corp has earmarked at least 1,000 Marawi entrepreneur beneficiaries that will receive loan packages in the first quarter of 2018.

The agency has also provided entrepreneurs with mobile rice mills, livelihood starter kits such as sari-sari store kits, and sewing kits. The Department, in partnership with the Skills Mastery Institute (SMI), also trained and retrained the IDPs on garments making.

As of December 2017, a total of 588 equipment/starter kits were distributed and provided trainings to 1,963 IDP beneficiaries. In addition, 240 beneficiaries were linked to financial institutions.

Maglaya added that DTI will train these beneficiaries who were given aid on simple book-keeping to help sustain their businesses.

As part of Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), DTI, as lead agency, together with other government agencies comprising the subcommittee on business and livelihood (SC-BL), has assisted affected Marawi residents.

“With the help of member agencies of the Task Force Bangon Marawi Subcommitee on Business and Livelihood, we assure that Maranao entrepreneurs will be back on their feet in no time,” Maglaya said.

The assistance is in line with the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to provide livelihood to IDPs in Marawi City and other affected localities. This also follows Administrative Order No. 03 of the President, mandating the creation of an inter-agency task force that would implement the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Marawi City and other affected localities of which providing business and livelihood is crucial.

Member agencies of the Subcommittee on Business and Livelihood are the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).♦