The Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) is pushing for the immediate passage of measures that will help in particular the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recover from the impact of the pandemic.

One important intervention, it said, was the need for the full implementation of the Philippine Economic Stimulus Act of 2020 (Pesa), which has been renamed the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy (Arise) Act.

The House of Representatives has passed on second reading the P1.3-trillion Arise economic stimulus package that will provide allocations for interest-free loans as well as provision of education, training and guidance, to pandemic-hit MSMEs.

The MSME sector, comprising about 99 percent of all industries in the country, has been identified as among the three hardest hit sectors of the Covid-19 pandemic, aside from tourism and transportation.

Philexport also pushed for the passage of the CREATE bill, or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, which will reduce corporate income tax immediately to 25 percent to help attract investors and increase cash flow particularly for MSMEs.

The exporters’ group likewise underscored the need to revive a pending bill and pass the Customs Amnesty Act, which can be a major source of government revenues needed to fund crisis recovery programs and projects.

The group also pushed for the provision of an export promotion budget as a subsidy for all exporters for at least a year.

“Increase DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) budget by at least 100 percent every year, with 75 percent of which to serve as an annual subsidy for export promotion and marketing,” Philexport said.

“While development plans remain valid, there is a need to transition from this stage of the crisis toward recovery, resilience and resurgence leading to the targets spelled out in these development plans,” said Philexport president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr.

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