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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is targeting to complete the disbursement of PHP1 billion worth of loans to small businesses under the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Lopez said some 22,932 applications were received by the Small Business (SB) Corp., the financing arm of DTI. 

These applications translate to over PHP2 billion of borrowings, higher than the initial PHP1-billion fund for the CARES program.

“Since we receive this number of applications, we’re hoping to have (an) additional budget coming from the stimulus package being proposed in the Congress,” he said.

He added other sources of funding for the CARES program will be the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

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“As a wholesale bank, Landbank and DBP can also lend out to SB Corp. who will be retailing the loans,” the DTI chief said.

Lopez said DTI will also use its portfolio fund under Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso or P3 Program, which is now about PHP3.5 billion.

DTI, through SB Corp., rolled out the CARES program to help micro and small enterprises (MSEs) continue their businesses amid the challenging business environment brought by the pandemic.

Related: 5 practical steps to manage your finances during and after a crisis

The microfinancing loan program can provide MSEs, with existing businesses before the COVID-19, a loan between PHP10,000 to PHP200,000 for businesses with assets not exceeding PHP3 million; and up to PHP500,000 for small businesses with an asset not exceeding PHP15 million.

SB Corp. provides interest-free loans and borrowers will only pay a 6-percent service charge to cover the expenses of rolling out the program.

A six-month grace period is also provided to MSEs who will avail of the CARES program loan. They can pay the loan six months after the release of the money. 

Source: PNA

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