House Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon Party-List Rep. Bernadette Herrera urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to speed up the disbursement of the P10-billion budget allocated under Bayanihan To Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2) to assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Congress allocated that amount precisely to help these struggling MSMEs so that they could continue operating and paying their employees. Our economy is slowly opening up again, and our MSMEs will play a big role in its revival, so we should provide them with the necessary assistance right away,” said Herrera.
The lawmaker said she is counting on the DTI to ensure that around 100,000 enterprises and 200,000 workers would benefit from the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) which seeks to assist MSMEs and the tourism industry through the provision of low-interest loans.
Herrera, however, bared that out of the budget, P8 billion has been passed to the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) She also expressed concern that based on DTI’s data, only P1.2 billion or 6,600 loans have been approved so far, adding that around 26,000 CARES loan applications are still pending with the SBCorp.
“The DTI should push SBCorp. to fast-track the processing of loans and release the money to qualified MSMEs ASAP. The pandemic pushed many MSMEs into financial hardship, prompting them to either shut down permanently or lay off some workers just to stay afloat,” she lamented.