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SB Corporation distributes P7.2-B microloans to SMEs.

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez announced that the agency’s financial arm has given a total of PHP7.2 billion in loans to micro, small, and medium companies (MSMEs) to aid their recovery from the epidemic.

Lopez said the PHP7.2 billion loan disbursed to MSMEs came from the Coronavirus disease 2019 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program of Small Business (SB) Corp. at the opening of the Rise Up Program on Friday.

According to Lopez, the CARES loan has helped roughly 42,100 people.

With a PHP1-billion budget funded internally, SBCorp started the CARES initiative, a zero-interest loan, in 2020.

Following the program’s success, Congress appropriated PHP10 billion for the CARES loan under the Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2) initiative. However, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only gave the DTI’s financial arm PHP8.08 billion.

PHP4 billion was set aside for multi-sectoral MSMEs and PHP4 billion for tourism-related MSMEs out of the total amount released. The remaining funds were used to fund mobilization and running costs for the microfinancing initiative.

According to Lopez, loans for multi-sectoral MSMEs were fully utilized, but the tourism facility was underutilized since tourism-related businesses were hesitant to borrow money, even at zero interest, due to their poor operating capacity.

According to Lopez, about PHP2.7 billion is still accessible for MSMEs in the tourism sector.

SBCorp has introduced its online lending facilities for multi-sectoral MSMEs to continue this microfinance program.

SBCorp is contributing PHP6 billion to the Rise Up Program, which includes three sub-programs: RiseUp Multi-Purpose Loan for multi-sectoral MSMEs, RiseUp Tindahan for MSMEs in the fast-moving consumer goods network, and RiseUp Turismo for MSMEs in the tourist industry, according to Lopez.

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