Legarda urges government to strengthen program implementation for MSMEs

Deputy Speaker and Antique lone District Rep Loren Legarda has urged the government to strengthen the implementation of its programs that would financially and technically assist the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)

Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda (Congresswoman Loren Legarda Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

She said the government should exhaust all means to ensure that the MSMEs will recover from the adverse effects of coronavirus pandemic by giving an all-out assistance to the “backbone” of the national economy.

“We must continue to strengthen our MSME programs because aside from generating employment opportunities and better incomes, MSMEs are crucial partners of the government in helping our creative industries flourish,” Legarda said in a statement.

The principal sponsor and author of Republic Act No. 9501 or the Magna Carta for MSMEs took the opportunity to ask the MSMEs to avail of the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) Program being implemented by the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), which is the lending arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

She said  the program, which is a P 1 billion rehabilitation financing under the “Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso” (P3), will help refuel the business operations of the MSMEs adversely affected by COVID-19.

“MSMEs play a vital role in generating employment opportunities and better income throughout the country especially in poor and rural communities. Comprising 99.52 percent of all the businesses in the Philippines, MSMEs have suffered from the overall impact of the pandemic due to both the decline in business operations and customer demands. This SBCorp CARES program is therefore a big help for them to revive their operations and ensure their business continuity,” Legarda said.

The former chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance noted that all Filipino-owned micro and small enterprises with at least one year in operation prior to March 16, 2020 and with assets not more than P15 million may qualify for the loan program with zero interest.

The program, however, requires a corresponding one-time service fee of 6 percent for the 18-month loan term and an 8 percent-service fee for the 30-month loan term, she said.

"Micro enterprises with asset size of not more than P3 million may borrow from P10,000 up to P 200,000. Small enterprises with asset size of not more than P 15M may borrow a higher loan amount but not to exceed P 500,000. The lending program also gives a grace period on the principal payment,” she said.

Legarda noted that that SBCorp has provided an online platform where interested MSMEs can submit their applications.

Those availing the CARES Program have to submit the following documentary requirements:
-fully-accomplished loan application form;
-one  government-issued ID with picture
-proof of permanent business address
-barangay or Municipal Business Permit (for loans up to P50,000)
-DTI/SEC Registration (for loans more than P50,000)
-Mayor’s Business Permit (for loans more than P150,000)
-Post-dated checks (for loans more than P150,000)
- 2019 financial statements (for loans more than P200,000
-BIR Registration (for loans more than P300,000)

Legarda said upon loan application approval, applicants are advised to go to the nearest SBCorp office for the signing of needed documents.

She noted that as of July 30, 2020, SBCorp received a total of 23,620 online applications with 1,306 accounts released amounting to P 97.2 million.

The SBCorp. also approved 3,676 accounts for release amounting to P 219.8 million, while 464 accounts are scheduled for release amounting to P31.2 million; and 920 accounts are awaiting client’s signature for processing of release with P 58.6 total loan amount, Legarda said.