The Board of Investments (BOI) has approved a total of P137 billion worth of projects as of middle March this year, reflecting a significant 64.65 percent increase from P83 billion in the same period last year.
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, who is also BOI chairman, reported at the “Kumusta Na Po Mahal Kong Kababayan?”: President Duterte’s Meeting on COVID-19 Concerns and Talk to the People held Wednesday night in Malacanang that the committed investments are expected to create 12,013 job opportunities once they are operational or 13.28 percent more than the 10,605 jobs from projects registered in the January-March last year.
The strong first quarter investment approvals strongly supported BOI’s P1.25 trillion target for 2021. Last year, the premier investment generating agency of the government registered a total of P1.02 trillion worth of project registration, exceeding its P1 trillion target during the pandemic year.
Lopez also reported that DTI through the CARES Program of SB Corp., the government’s micro financing arm, has released a total of P2.596 billion out of total approved loan amount of P3.029 billion to micro, small and medium enterprises as of March 23 this. The CARES program grants zero interest, collateral-free and longer grace period to MSMEs during this pandemic period.
The loans were released to 22,310 loan applicants out of 24,581 loans approved. The CARES Program has received total of 41,175 loan applications during the pandemic period.
Loan beneficiaries were MSMEs located in the National Capital Region with total of P437.515 million followed CALABARZON IV-A with P348.142 million, Region 3 Central Luzon P257.979 million, Region 6 Western Visayas P179.400 million, Region 7 Central Visayas P169.604 million, Region 5 Bicol P162.646 million, and Region 4-B MIMAROPA P145.532 million.
To further empower MSMEs, the DTI has also distributed shared service facilities worth P50 million as of December 2020 to projects. A total of 49,950 livelihood starter kits were also distributed under the Bangon Marawi Project of the government.
Other DTI activities were livelIhood seeding programs, webinars, and skills training were also launched specifically targeting overseas Filipino workers, former rebels, and indigenous peoples organizations.
The DTI is also continuing other programs like trade fairs, Diskwento Caravans and online training activities for MSMEs. With the pandemic, Lopez said more Filipinos are going into business. In 2020, there were 916,163 total business name registrations, or 44 percent higher than 2019. and other continuing skills training. Of this figure, e-commerce business name registrations reached 88,574 from only 1,700 in 2019, indicating more entrepreneurs went online business during the pandemic.