BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry in the Cordillera Administrative Region (DTI-CAR) has released PHP184.6 million under its Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program to help 15,567 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region.
Myrna Pablo, regional director of DTI-CAR, on Tuesday said all provinces in the region have availed of the assistance. Around PHP70 million was released under the CARES program to beneficiaries in Benguet province thru the agency’s soft loan program released thru the Small Business Corporation (SBC). The loan has zero interest and payable in three years.
“The country is still in a pandemic and the market remains unstable that is why DTI has extended the repayment policy to three years from only one year at the start of the program in 2020,” she said.
Continuing government assistance
To further assist the sector in terms of adapting to the new normal, the director said they conduct webinars on marketing, improvement of products, and social media marketing including the use of online banking and financial transactions.
The DTI also continues to pursue its other programs like “Mentor Me” and other capacity-building training.
Pablo said there are more than 25,000 MSMEs in the Cordillera that are being supported by the DTI.
Based on the recent DTI survey, she said at least 35 percent of the 25,000 MSMEs in the region have resumed full operation.
Around 50 percent is on partial operation and 15 percent have closed operations due to problems on getting raw materials.
MSMEs also create employment
Pablo said that despite the minimal capitalization and operation, the MSMEs contribute to job generation.
Pablo said most MSMEs are husband and wife tandem together with their children while some hire about five to 10 workers, allowing others to earn income from their operation.
The Public Information Office-Baguio on Tuesday also said the MSMEs make up a total of 99.7 percent of all establishments, accounting for a 70.8 percent share in total employment in the region.
Pablo said the government is always open to entrepreneurs and they have programs that can be availed by anybody interested to learn or improve an income-generating activity.
“We have six provincial offices located in the capital towns, we have the regional office in Baguio and we are active in social media. Get in touch with us so that we can extend to you the programs of the government,” she said. (PNA)