Small businesses should be able to immediately tap available financing options as Las Piñas Rep. Camille Villar (Lone District) urged the government to simplify loan procedures to help enterprises continue their operations as they struggle to return a shifting normal amid the pandemic.
During the virtual meeting of the House committee on micro, small and medium enterprise development about existing credit and loan facilities for MSMEs on Wednesday, June 10, Villar said the Small Business Corp.’s (SBCorp) role is crucial to aid cash-strapped entrepreneurs.
“The role of SB Corp. is very important in jumpstarting our economy because more than 95% of businesses in the Philippines are MSMEs so we really need to help them. I believe they are the most affected,” said Villar, vice-chair of the House panel.
Villar suggested that SB Corp. should disseminate information to the local level and lessen documentary requirements to potential borrowers to help the respective constituents of lawmakers avail of the loan facility.
“Baka pwede bigyan ng point person ng SB Corp. na pwede makipag-coordinate sa aming mga opisina at para matulungan ang aming ka distrito na makahabol sa loans,” said Villar, adding that encouraging and supporting local small entrepreneurs will give them the much-needed boost as they struggle to cope with the health crisis.
Recently, SB Corp. announced that it will open a loan facility called the Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing-Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso, to affected MSMEs.
Under the program, firms with asset size of not more than P3 million may borrow between P10,000 and P200,000 while those with assets of up to P10 million may borrow up to P500,000.
A total of 4,198 loan applications have so far been processed by SB Corp. with an aggregate amount of P571.17 million, said the agency’s planning and advocacy head Frank Lloyd Gonzaga at the virtual hearing. SB Corp. President Ma. Luna Cacanando said they have released some P23 million in loans to small businesses.
Villar, for her part, recognized the MSME sector as an important driver of the Philippine economy and a major contributor for the country’s growing labor force. In 2019, 99.56% of establishments in the Philippines were MSMEs or a total of 1.42 million enterprises. Nearly seven out of 10 employed work in the MSME sector.
Due to the coronavirus, large-scale community quarantines, travel restrictions, and social-distancing measures were implemented by the national and local governments which drove a sharp fall in consumer and business spending and affected small businesses and forced some to shut down.
The Las Piñas representative pointed out that small entrepreneurs deserve the help they needed as they do not have the means to survive during these trying times.
With the availability of aid, it will keep the sector afloat and help retain their workforce, said Villar.