MANILA, Philippines — More than half of the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country had to stop their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reported Friday.

During the online meeting of the social amelioration cluster of the House of Representatives’ Defeat COVID-19 Committee (DCC), DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said 52.66 percent of MSMEs fully stopped or closed their operations due to the health crisis as of April 29.

Some 12.55 percent have limited operations while only 34.79 percent managed to continue their operations, he added.

In Metro Manila, where an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was being imposed, 76 percent of MSMEs have fully stopped their operations, 22 percent have limited operations, while only two percent continued its full operations, according to Lopez.

Lopez then said DTI has several programs to help MSMEs during the pandemic.

Among these programs, he noted, is the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso Enterprise Rehabilitation Fund wherein micro-enterprises may borrow money ranging from P10,000 t0 P200,000 while small enterprises may borrow can borrow up to P500,000.

Lopez said all applications for DTI’s assistance programs for MSMEs will be accepted after the ECQ is lifted.

“Ito po ay panglaban natin sa mga five-six na isang programa na inumpisahan ni Pangulong Duterte at ito ay nabibigyan ng Congress ng mga P1 billion to P1.5 billion kada taon,” Lopez said.

(This is one of the programs initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte against the five-six lending scheme and the Congress allots P1 billion to P1.5 billion for this program every year.)

“For 2020 na P1.5 billion that’s been approved in the GAA, P1 billion of the 1.5 billion has been reprogrammed para dito sa pangyayari ng COVID-19,” he added.

(For 2020, P1.5 billion was approved in the GAA. P1 billion of the 1.5 billion has been reprogrammed for this COVID-19 event.)

Lopez said 2018 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that 99.52 percent of business establishments in the country are MSMEs.

Some 88.45 percent of business establishments in the country are micro-businesses, 10.58 percent are small businesses, and 0.49 percent are medium businesses, he said.

Only 0.48 percent of the businesses in the country are deemed large businesses, he added.


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