More or less 2,000 micro and small businesses heavily impacted by the wrath of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic stand to benefit from the roll out of the city’s P100 million stimulus package that is being implemented in partnership with the Small Business Corporation (SBC), an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong and SBC President Ma. Luna E. Cacanando formally signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the implementation of the program although the latter was not present and witnessed by City Budget Officer Leticia O. Clemente and SBC group head, North Luzon Group, Arell F. Bañez, during Tuesday’s management committee meeting held at the city hall multipurpose hall.
Magalong stated that at least 40 percent of the city’s micro enterprises might not be able to recover from the heavy impact inflicted by the implementation of the Luzonwide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and its subsequent versions, thus the city government, through the local finance committee, decided to formulate its own version of a stimulus package to mitigate the effects of the pandemic to the affected businesses.
The mayor praised the SBC for being the city’s partner in the implementation of the city’s Baguio Revitalization Actions for a Vibrant Economy–Economic Stimulus Package (BRAVE-ESP) to ensure the sustainability of the program as the city does not want to repeat a previous experience where the funds appropriated for such purpose eventually ended up as a dole-out to the borrowers.
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“We have reached a point of almost helplessness resulting from this pandemic, an occurrence we never expected to happen in our lifetime,” Mayor Magalong stressed.
However, the city chief executive pointed out that the city will not allow the vibrant life people have been used to be crippled, though city officials have to recalibrate the old ways for people to cope with the requirements of the new normal.
On her part, Cacanando, in her message aired through virtual, assured city officials the SBC will do its best to protect the money of the city earmarked for the program to ensure the most qualified recipients will avail of the prescribed loanable amount for the impacted businesses.
She stated SBC will try to process all the qualified allocations by September to make sure the funds provided by the city for the stimulus package will be used to jumpstart the operation of the affected businesses.
The BRAVE-ESP is a pioneering partnership that aims to help the local economy bounce back as the initial step towards recovery.
Under the BRAVE-ESP, qualified micro and small businesses can borrow a minimum of P10,000 and a maximum of P50,000 for micro enterprises and P100,000 for small business. Loans payable in less than 12 months will be charged 6 percent service fee while loans payable beyond 12 months up to 24 months will be charged 8 percent service fee.
By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis
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