House panel OKs bill allowing government banks to help distressed MSMEs

Published July 28, 2020, 3:55 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The House Defeat COVID-19 Ad Hoc Committee (DCC) swiftly approved on Tuesday afternoon a proposed act that would allow government financial institutions to help enterprises distressed by the ongoing health crisis to recover through programs and initiatives.


A draft substitute for the GUIDE Act, originally designated as House Bill (HB) No.6795, successfully hurdled the DCC panel presided by Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez in less than 30 minutes of discussion.

House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries chairman, Quirino lone district Rep. Junie Cua, sponsored the measure, which will be sent to the plenary later in the day.

“We really have no choice but to fast-track the approval of these vital measures if we want to spare millions of jobs threatened by this global health emergency,” said Romualdez, who co-chairs the panel with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

“As a result of the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, an estimated 1.2 million workers were displaced and left dependent on the social amelioration package provided by the national government. This number swelled further with the arrival from abroad of hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipino workers who also lost their jobs due the ongoing global health crisis,” he said.

The proposed GUIDE Act will be implemented by the Philippine Guarantee Corporation (PGC), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

Cua said these three government financial institutions (GFIs) will work together to address the liquidity or solvency problems of small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and strategically important industries, as well as encourage their continued operations, and maintain employment levels.

“We’re going to require them to expand their loan program and for them be able [to do this], we have to be able to capacitate them by increasing their paid-up capital. So this bill is a simple bill; it’s actually a capacitation of our financial institutions,” he said.

Under the bill, a total of P55 billion will be infused to the three GFIs, specifically P35 billion for LBP, P15 billion for DBP, and P5 billion for PGC.

“Because of the multiplier effect of a peso of capital invested in these banks and this guarantee corporation…this P55 billion can raise a minimum of P600 billion to address the credit needs,” Cua said.

He said the P600-billion projection is based on empirical studies as well as the experience of the three government institutions. “This is a creative way to raise money without spending too much or borrowing too much.”

Tuesday marked only the second day of the second regular session of the 18th Congress, with the first one taking place Monday, the day President Duterte delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address.