By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Small Business (SB) Corp. lawmakers assured on Wednesday, June 10 that it will be able to complete its loan releases under the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) Program by August, as it seeks to process and approve 500 loan applications per day starting this fourth week of June.
SB Corp. president and chief executive officer Ma. Luna Cacanando made the assurance during the House Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development’s virtual hearing on the government’s existing credit and loan facilities for the MSMEs.
She gave the assurance after some lawmakers hit the SB Corp., lending arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the snail-pace action on the loan applications.
She said out of 7,000 loan applications they received, 4,400 have already been reviewed.
Deputy Speaker and Ilocos Sur 1st district Rep. Deogracias Victor “DV” Savellano expressed disappointment that only 12 loans worth P1.22 million were released, as of June 8.
“Ang point ko lang dito sana bilisan natin ang processing, mag two months na at 12 pa lang, ang mga tao ay nangangailangan, kasi talagang pahirap na nang pahirap na eh kung puwede mas bilisan lang,” he said.
(My point here is the processing should be expedited, it has been two months and only 12 were given loans, the people are in need of help, life is becoming more difficult, could you expedite it.)
The DTI has allocated P1 billion to implement the CARES Program, while the additional P500 million was earmarked by the Board of the SB Corp.
Manila Teachers partyist Rep. Virgilo Lacson, panel chairman, also scored the SB Corp. for its slow release of loans to the MSMEs, even as he asked Cacanando to intensify their information campaign on the program to reach and cover more recipients.
“Gusto namin na maubos yan, because it will help. Kung ubos na, I think the government will be asked kung talagang nakakatulong. Ang sinasabi natin P1 billion lang ito. Sa stimulus andami kong nakita parang sa P35 billion ang ibibigay sa SMEs actually umaabot pa nga kung issum up mo P120 billion for MSMEs pero wala pa yun. we will not count the chicken before they hatch. Ngayon pa lang may problem na sya,” he said.
(We want to exhaust all funds, because it will help. If it is depleted, I think the government will be asked if it is really beneficial. What we are saying, this is only P1 billion.Under the stimulus [package], I see some P35 billion that will be extended to the SMEs, actually to sum it all, it will reach up to P120 billion for MSMEs, but it not yet available. And now, there is a problem.)
In his presentation, SB Corp. Planning and Advocacy Group Head Frank Gonzaga said as of June 8, the total number of potential borrowers is 10,137 with an aggregate loan amount of P1.37 billion.
He said there are 4,198 applications with complete requirements which are being processed, translating to P571.17 million applied loan request.
He disclosed that P22.99 million applied loan request has been approved or 287 loan applications.
With Gonzaga’s disclosure, 1-PACMAN partylist Rep. Enrico Pineda, chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment asked Cacanando if they have manpower to process all the applications.
Cacanando replied in the affirmative to Pineda’s query.
The SB Corp. official said they need to allocate P1 billion for “all the applications that are with us”, while P500 million are open for new applications.
Las Pinas lone district Rep. Camille Villar also asked the SB Corp. to fast track the processing of the loan applications of the MSMEs.
“I think it is very important the role of SB Corp in terms of jumpstarting our economy. You know 95 percent of the business in the Philippines are medium and small enterprises, we really need to help them, they are the most affected,” she said.
Cacanando explained that under the CARES Program, micro enterprises with a capital up to P3 million can borrow between PHP10,000 and PHP200,000. Small enterprises with asset size not exceeding P 15 million can borrow up to P500,000.
She said for loans below P50,000, the applicants are required to submit barangay permit, barangay certification that she or he is a resident in that particular place and conducting business in the area, and a government-issued ID.
For those availing up to P100,000, a DTI registration is needed, while those seeking up to P500,000, the submission of Mayor’s permit and BIR registration are required.