Rep. Villar bats for passage of economic recovery measure

Published June 25, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ben Rosario

Deputy Majority Leader and Las Piñas Lone District Rep. Camille Villar on Thursday batted for the enactment of the House of Representatives’ prescription for the swift recovery of the country’s coronavirus disease-battered economy.

 Las Piñas City lone district Rep. Camille Villar (Camille Villar FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Las Piñas City lone district Rep. Camille Villar (Camille Villar FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Villar, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development, said the proposed Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy (ARISE) Bill proposes to provide more funding to help small businesses that absorbed much of the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic.

In a televised interview, Villar stressed the importance of supporting MSMEs as they are considered the lifeblood of the domestic economy.

“We hope that more funding is given to MSMEs, especially because they do comprise about 99.6% of all the businesses here and they provide 70% of jobs in the Philippine workforce. So it’s very important that we give them all the support that they need,” said Villar.

The young solon lamented that the Small Business Corp (SB Corp.), the financing arm of the Department of Trade and Industry, is running out of funds preventing it from accepting new loan applications.

The SB Corp. is armed with a P1-billion facility that would help enterprises Companies with asset size not exceeding P3 million may borrow between P10,000 and P200,000; and those with assets not bigger than P10 million may borrow up to P500,000.

Initially, SB Corp. was to impose a 0.5% interest per month, but later scrapped the interest and would only charge 6% service fee. MSMEs that availed of the loan also have a six-month grace period before they can pay the loan for up to 30 months.

Villar said “one of the things that we noticed is that P1 billion is really not enough” to help a big chunk of MSMEs hurt by the pandemic since many of them are still clamoring for some form of relief. She added information dissemination is key to address MSMEs’ concerns.

Before going on sine die adjournment early this month, the Lower House passed the ARISE Bill that could boost efforts for economic recovery.

Under the measure, P50 billion will be allocated to SB Corp. for existing loans programs for MSMEs for this year and another P25 billion next year while the Philippine Guarantee Corp. will get P20 billion this year and another P20 billion in 2021.

“This [ARISE Bill] would have addressed the additional funding for SB Corp. and other government financial institutions like Landbank, Philippine Guarantee Corp. which have programs to help MSMEs. We’re hoping to pass this in August to give help and support to our MSMEs,” Villar said, but conceded that it may be difficult to pass the measure since the government may not be able to fully finance a total of P1.3 trillion in recovery programs under the measure.