Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has urged micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to avail of the P535 billion loanable funds allocated by the banking sector on top of the various financing schemes being extended by government financial institutions (GFIs).

Lopez said the entire banking system has an estimated P535 billion loanable fund allocation for MSME financing. This on top of the financing lines from the GFIs such as the Development Bank of the Philippines, Lank Bank of the Philippines, and Philguarantee and the government’s micro financing arm SB Corp.

RAMON LOPEZ BLOOMBERG PHOTO 1024x683 - P535 billion available for MSMEs
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez (Bloomberg file photo)

He invited MSMEs to take the opportunity to avail from these financing windows. From the SB Corp, he said P8 billion of the P10 billion MSME allocation from the Bayanihan 2 stimulus package have already been released to the SB Corp.

Of the P10 billion, P6 billion has been allotted for the micro and small tourism players and the remaining P4 billion for the overall MSME establishments.

 “I invite MSMEs,” said Lopez referring to taking out loans from SB Corp.’s CARES Program that offers zero interest and 2 percent service e fee. He said loan processing has also been fast tracked in 7 to 10 days only

With the recent typhoons, Lopez said that DTI provincial offices are assessing affected micro enterprises so they could receive aid. Initially, the DTI allotted P2 million for micro enterprises in Rizal and Marikina areas. DTI is targeting assistance for micro establishments in Regions 4 and 5 and Bicol region as well.

Lopez reported that only 5 percent of establishments have remained closed and these are the companies engaged under Category 4 which are still not allowed to operate in areas under general community quarantine.

Meantime, Lopez reported there has been higher compliance on the suggested retail prices on basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) and the price freeze that automatically took effect following the declaration of a state of calamity in the entire island of Luzon.

He also noted that nobody is losing in this arrangement. What is important, he said, is there are no movement in prices of BNPCs. SRPs cover BNPCs sold in the groceries and supermarkets.

Under Section 6 of Republic Act of 7581 or Price Act as amended by RA 10623, prices of basic necessities (BNs) shall be placed under automatic price control at their prevailing prices for sixty (60) days or until lifted sooner by the President, whenever there is a declaration of a state of calamity (SOC) or emergency. Under Section 3, No. 6 of the same law, the prevailing price is defined as the average price at which any basic necessity has been sold in a given time within a month from the occurrence of any calamity or emergency. 

The DTI, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) are mandated by the Price Act to monitor the prices of all basic necessities under their respective jurisdiction. 

For the DTI, its monitoring and enforcement activities include basic goods such as canned fish and other marine products, locally manufactured instant noodles, bottled water, bread, processed milk, coffee, candles, laundry soap, detergent, and salt. 

Meanwhile, goods such as rice, corn, cooking oil, fresh, dried and other marine products, fresh eggs, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh milk, fresh vegetables, root crops, sugar, and fresh fruits fall under the purview of the DA, and the listed essential drugs, and medical supplies/essentials under the DOH. 

The household LPG and kerosene are monitored by the DOE but their prices are frozen for only fifteen (15) days. 

“The DTI is closely coordinating with the manufacturers of basic necessities and prime commodities to ensure the availability and the continuous replenishment of these goods especially in the heavily affected areas,” says DTI Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo.

To check for the complete list of price freeze bulletins issued by the DTI Provincial offices, the concerned establishments and consumers are advised to visit the e-Presyo website through https://www.dti.gov.ph/konsyumer/e-presyo/.    

The DTI warns business establishments that those found to have violated the price freeze will face the penalty of imprisonment for a period of not less than one (1) year nor more than  ten (10) years, or a fine ranging from Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) to One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00), or both, at the discretion of the court. 

Consumers are enjoined to report retailers, distributors, and manufacturers of basic necessities that are not observing the automatic price control or price freeze via One-DTI (1-384) Hotline or email, ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph.

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