A BILL filed at the Senate seeks to provide additional support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including interest-free loans from state-owned banks and an emergency fund for disaster recovery.
Senator Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva, author of Senate Bill 138 or the MSME Stimulus Act, said the proposed law is intended to boost and popularize local products in domestic and international markets.
“There’s a unique sense of pride that something that delicious can be made in your hometown by your people, and shared throughout the country and the whole world,” the senator said in a mix of English and Filipino in a statement on Monday.
The measure will create the MSME Growth Stimulus Program to extend assistance, strengthen, and facilitate the growth and development of MSMEs to create and sustain jobs across the regions.
Under the bill, interest-free loan windows will be opened through the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and the Development Bank of the Philippines.
An MSME Stimulus Contingency Fund will also be maintained and used to assist MSMEs affected by disasters, public health emergencies, armed conflict, and other disruptions.
The Department of Finance will also be mandated to provide wage subsidies to disaster-hit MSMEs.
The bill will help MSMEs become resilient and “disaster-proof,” the senator said.
“Most of our MSMEs took massive losses during the (coronavirus) pandemic, leading to their closures and laying off employees,” Mr. Villanueva said.
“Now that the economy is opening up, our MSMEs need booster shots of government aid to keep local goods and services afloat and help MSMEs keep their employees,” he added.
Data from the Department of Trade and Industry show MSMEs comprise 99.5% of all businesses in the country, generating 62.66% of the country’s employment in 2020. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan