BAGUIO CITY – Some 192 distressed small and medium enterprises (SMEs) here have availed of the city’s financial loan assistance to help them cope with the effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Aileen Refuerzo, Public Information Office (PIO)-Baguio chief, on Tuesday said the city has released more than PHP7.16 million assistance to SMEs under the city’s Revitalization Actions for a Vibrant Economy–Economic Stimulus Package (BRAVE-ESP).
Under the program, small enterprises can avail of a maximum of PHP30,000 while medium enterprises are also allowed to borrow a maximum of PHP50,000. The loan, which is zero interest, is payable in 24 months with 6 percent service charge.
She said the pandemic affected the operation of all businesses that caused the displacement of workers, closure of businesses affecting the local economy.
Small Business Corporation (SBC), which was tapped to process the loan application, is a subsidiary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that manages funds for loans to MSMEs. The loan amount is released by the city government to the applicant.
City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias reported that the number of local businesses that availed of the financial assistance program is lower than the 2,000 targeted.
As such, he encouraged SMEs to avail themselves of the soft loan assistance to help their businesses recover.
The city government allocated PHP100 million stimulus package from its Covid-19 operations fund to help ailing micro and small enterprises (MSEs) bounce back from the effect of the pandemic.
Cabarrubias, however, said the city government reduced the amount to PHP40 million due to the low utilization of funds. The other amount was funneled to augment the city’s funds in procuring the needed vaccines for city residents.
Based on data from the City Permits and Licensing Division, more than 20,800 of the over 23,400 registered businesses are classified as micro, while more than 2,400 are small enterprises. Most of them have either halted operation or operate on limited manpower.
The Philippine Statistics Authority in the Cordillera Region last week said the city has recorded losses in income amounting to PHP2 billion from the tourism-related businesses in Baguio City. (PNA)