DTI’s SB Corp. approves over 20,000 loans for small businesses

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2021   •   290

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 21,695 loan applications under the Bayanihan COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program for small enterprises have been approved by the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.) as of February 9, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

SB Corp. is the financing arm of DTI. Its CARES program seeks to provide micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) with urgent relief needed to restart their businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our efforts to provide relief and assistance to MSMEs through the CARES program are further strengthened, especially as we work towards the sustainable and inclusive recovery of our nation,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

“Over 20,000 MSMEs have already benefitted from this loan portfolio, which has helped businesses survive from permanent closure, recover from the effects of the pandemic, save or even create more jobs, and provide income to millions of Filipinos and their families,” he added.

Applications approved are equivalent to a loan amount of P2.35 billion, according to SB Corp. President and CEO Ma. Luna Cacanando.

Under the Republic Act No. 11494 or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” (Bayanihan 2), financial support amounting to P10 billion has been allotted to the CARES program to help mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic on MSMEs.

Lopez said the application process for CARES program have been simplified “to ensure that more businesses are able to avail of this service.”

The loan application and evaluation process, as well as the releasing process, have also been shifted online to reduce physical contact amid the pandemic.

He said the SB Corp. completes its evaluation of loan requests within seven working days, even faster if the documents are complete.

“Submission of documents such as BIR tax return can fast-track approval,” he said.

“There is currently no backlog on its loan evaluation work contrary to what other reports say. We are even promoting the program to more MSMEs applicants,” he added.

The trade chief emphasized that MSMEs are a key pillar of the country’s economy, which contribute 35.7% to GDP, employ 62.5% of the labor force, and constitute 99.5% of all business establishments in the country.

Based on a nationwide survey of over 3,000 MSMEs conducted by DTI, around 38% were forced to close down during the height of lockdown in April to June last year, and this number went down to 5% towards yearend 2020, as more sectors were gradually reopening. 

“Loans from the Bayanihan CARES Program are interest-free, collateral-free, and are available to MSMEs, cooperatives, hospitals, and tourism businesses that have been in operation for at least one year,” Lopez said.

“Repatriated or returning OFWs who wish to engage in start-up business may also apply for a loan under the program after some trainings,” he added.

Loan terms can be up to four years, including a grace period of up to 12 months, giving MSMEs enough breathing space for the business to recover, and time to pivot and innovate their business models.  

“We encourage all MSMEs across the country in all regions to consider taking the step in reopening or reconfiguring your respective businesses. The features of the Bayanihan CARES loan are intended to allow entrepreneurs to restart their businesses with ample elbow room.  There is no need to worry about loan repayments for one year. There is also no need to worry about escalating financing costs,” Lopez said.

Interested applicants may submit their loan requests through www.BayanihanCARES.ph or contact the CARES Hotline at 8651-3333, and at 1-800-10-651-3333 (nationwide toll-free) for inquiries.

Higit na 300,000 manggagawa naka-depende sa pagbubukas ng mga sinehan—DTI

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Kinakailangan nang maibalik ang operasyon ng mga sinehan dahil dito nakasalalay ang kabuhayan ng halos 300,000 mga manggagawa, ayon sa Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Ayon sa Consumer Protection Group ng DTI na si Usec.Ruth Castelo, maraming manggagawa sa sinehan ang halos isang taon nang nahinto sa pagtratrabaho kayat umaasa ang nga ito na muli na silang makababalik sa kanilang hanapbuhay.

“Recommendation ng NEDA and the DTI Secretary Lopez na i-allow na para makabalik na sa trabaho yung mga tao ng income, makagenerate sila ng income at makasuporta doon sa mga pamilya nila,” aniya.

Nag-inspeksyon din ang DTI noong Miyerkules (ika-16 ng Pebrero) sa ilang mga sinehan upang makita ang kanilang paghahanda sakaling mag-umpisa na muli ang kanilang operasyon.

Bagaman wala pang guidelines na inilalabas ang national government, ginagawan na ng paraan ng mga mall operator na magkaroon nang maayos na bentilasyon sa loob ng mga sinehan.

Paliwanag pa ng nga ito, bago pa ang pandemya ay sinisuguro na nila na malinis at tama ang sirkulasyon ng hangin dito.

“Two hours prior to the cinema opening we started operating our fresh air and exhaust system to ensure na fresh ang air natin sa loob ng cinema then while you are watching there are six air exchange happening in the cinema. So ibig sabihin kahit nakaupo ka lang nagpapalit ang hanging sa loob ng 6 na beses sa isang oras,” ayon kay Gerson Dela Cruz, Senior Engineer Facilities Management ng Ayala Malls.

Mahigpit na ring ipagbabawal ang pagkain sa loob ng mga sinehan upang maiwasan ang posibleng hawaan ng COVID-19.

“So that all facemasks must be worn all the time while inside the cinema and of course we’re waiting for the additional guidelines, safety guidelines that will come out before we open the cinemas required by the LGUs and IATF,” ayon naman kay Bomboy Lim, ang General Manager ng Robinsons Movie World.

Sa ngayon ay hinihintay pa rin ang guidelines na babalangkasin ng Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)  na dapat masunod sa mga enclosed na establisyimento gaya ng mga sinehan.

Pero nauna na ring sinabi ng IATF na bukod sa guidelines, kinakailangan din na aprubado ng mga alkalde na nakakasakop sa kanilang mga lugar ang muling pagbubukas ng mga sinehan at arcade.

Una nang sinabi ni Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso na magkakaloob sila ng libreng swab test sa mga cinema worker at hindi niya papayagan na magbukas ito hangga’t hindi sumasailalim sa pagsusuri ang mga manggagawa nito.

“Pinag-aaralan pa namin kasi while it is true that we wanted to open businesses, are they ready to come up with a plan yung katulad ng cinema o yung mga nabanggit? Hindi naman po pwede na bibiglain natin. Kailangan responsable pa rin,” aniya.

DTI, iimbestigahan ang umano’y mga nagmamanipula sa presyo ng mga bilihin

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines Bumuo na ang Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ng sub-task group na mag-iimbestiga sa mga trader na umano’y nagmamanipula sa presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin sa bansa.

Ayon kay DTI Secretary Mon Lopez, layunin nitong matunton ang mga nasa likod ng pananamantala sa presyo ng mga pangunahing produkto gaya ng gulay, karne at isda.

Tutukuyin rin sa imbestigasyon kung may nangyayaring hoarding o pagtatago ng mga produkto upang magkaroon ng artificial shortage at maitaas ang halaga nito.

“Beyond what we see in the market, kailangan masilip natin mga nangyayari in between, ibig sabihin ilang pasahan yan? Sino ang mas maraming ipinatong? Saan? Baka may nagtatago ng supply para magkaroon ng artificial shortage. So yan po kailangan ng imbestigasyon ng intelligence,” pahayag ni Lopez.

Ang sub-task group ay pangungunahan ng DTI, katuwang ang Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, at iba pang ahensiya na may intelligence fund.

Tiniyak ni Lopez na papatawan nila ng parusa ang sinomang mapapatunayang sangkot sa iligal na gawain at lumalabag sa umiiral na Price Act.

“Ang ating team po ay may mga binibisita na bodega o warehouses para tuluyang ma-push through, ma-follow through ung mga stocks that they have… Para ma-follow thorugh kung sino talaga yung may unusual build up ng inventory or kung may artificial shortage sa isang lugar, nasaan yung stocks,” wika ni Lopez.

Ayon sa DTI, mahigit 1,000 negosyante sa bansa ang pinadalhan ng letter of inquiry hinggil sa presyo at supply ng ibinibenta nilang produkto.

Nasa 31 naman ang naisyuhan ng show-cause order habang 16 ang kinasuhan dahil sa paglabag sa Price Act. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

DTI warns of estafa charges against prank orders

Marje Pelayo   •   December 24, 2020

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) warns shoppers who make prank purchases online this holiday season that they can be charged with estafa.

According to DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, pulling pranks when ordering is penalized under the Revised Penal Code with imprisonment once proven.

Prank ordering means a customer would order food or any item online with the intention of cancelling later on.

Castelo said they have partnered with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in addressing the complaints that they will be receiving regarding the matter.

Victims of prank orders must keep the record of the transaction such as text message, contact number, time and date of the transaction and other pertinent information.

“Makukulong iyan. Kailangan lang tulungan din tayo ng complainant kung siya iyong seller o iyong food delivery platforms na makapag-complain siya. Mag-execute ng affidavit at makapag-complain. Tutulungan natin sila, sa PNP or sa NBI,” Castelo said.

[They will be jailed. We just need the cooperation of the complainants, whether he or she is the seller or from the food delivery platforms, in lodging their complaint. They should execute an affidavit. We will help them together with the PNP and the NBI.]

Meanwhile, the DTI advised online shoppers to verify the authenticity of the online store they are purchasing from so as not to be deceived or dismayed of the purchased products.

While online sellers are increasing since the pandemic, complaints are also piling up against bogus transactions which reached up to over 15,000 this year as compared to 2,500 in 2019.

At the House of Representatives, House Bill 7805 or the Internet Transaction Act that seeks protection to merchants, customers and even to third party service providers or ride-hailing providers.

Bogus buyers will face a penalty of up to P50,000 while errant merchants and ride-hailing service providers will have to pay up to P500,000 fine if violations are proven. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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