The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has pledged its continued support for small-time and medium enterprises (MSMEs) struggling through the pandemic in the Philippines. 

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez made the announcement during the virtual hearing organized by the Senate committee on trade, commerce, and entrepreneurship. The online discussion focused on the impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs and ways the government can help out. 

Lopez, during the hearing, noted that the national government should bolster its effort in creating assistance initiatives for MSMEs, especially those that cater to the marginalized sector. 

“As continuity is key to successful delivery of services to our people, especially the marginalized sectors, there is need to boost government’s assistance to MSMEs thru DTI programs such as the Livelihood Seeding Program, Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso (P3), and CARES,” he explained

Besides these programs, Lopez is pushing for more dynamic policy directions, specifically with rent relief, project funding, and loan payment moratorium, to help domestic businesses recover from the pandemic.

In support of this, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has already discontinued the loan payment moratorium policy under Bayanihan 1 and 2 initiatives. 

During the Senate hearing, Lopez presented how the agency spent the P200 million allocation for DTI’s Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) program – P197.429 million of which went to livelihood kits delivered to 23,007 beneficiaries, assistance for 25,898 clients, and 3,570 training sessions. 

The DTI also recommended a budget for their Livelihood Support Fund, which aims to address unemployment and livelihood in pandemic-affected sectors.

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Image credit: DTI’s Official Facebook Page