HUNDREDS of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Visayas and Mimaropa Region that were affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda have been able to get back on their feet thanks to a rehabilitation financing program operated by an arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The Small Business Corp. (SB Corp.), the financing arm of the DTI, said that as of July 31, it has approved 245 loan applications from MSMEs in Western, Central and Eastern Visayas and in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) out of 397 loan applications it received totaling P638.3 million.
SB Corp. is a government corporation focused on small enterprise development financing and credit delivery systems. In response to the calamity, it launched the Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing Program (ERFP), a P700-million loan program supported by a P100 million credit risk support fund proposed by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano under the 2014 national budget.
There were about 50,000 MSMEs that were affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda, according to data obtained by DTI from its regional offices.
Under the ERF program, MSMEs can apply for a loan of from P200,000 to P5 million with an interest rate per annum of five to six percent, payable in five years, with a one-year grace period on both principal and interest payments.
The program also offers easy repayment, tapered in the first few years and increasing in the remaining years, so as to align with the recovery of the market. In addition, there are minimal documentary requirements although loan release is on a tranche basis and highly supervised.
While SB Corp. was the first among other government financial institutions to lend a hand to MSMEs following the typhoon, “SB Corp. calls on the banking sector and other MSME lenders to join us in this endeavor, given that the scale of destruction necessitates the assistance of all,” SB Corp OIC and president Ma. Luna Cacanando said.
Meanwhile, in celebration of SB Corp.’s 23 years of excellent public service, some ERFP loan beneficiaries were featured in a prepared video documentary entitled “Tanglaw” and “Tindog” where they shared their experiences during the typhoon and how DTI, through SB Corp, helped them to get back on their feet.
Featured in the first part of the video entitled “Tanglaw” were the loan beneficiaries from Bantayan Island where the main industries are poultry and tourism.
Dubbed as the “Egg Basket” of the Visayas, Bantayan Island can produce 1.3 million eggs a day but 75 percent of their production was lost after the typhoon. To date, 60 percent of the small poultry growers on the island have been assisted by the ERF program.
Among the first beneficiaries were father-and son tandem Antonio Ducay and his son-in-law Joseph Alan Pastoral of Nene Thelia Poultry Farm.
Eight tourism operators on Bantayan Island were also provided assistance. Among the resorts that were restored and are now in full operation include Manuel Doblados of MAIA’s Beach Resort, Agnes Gilbuena of Mabuhay Balikbayan Restaurant, and Reynaldo Hubahib of Kota Beach.
The second part of the video documentary entitled “Tindog,” a Waray word meaning “to rise up,” featured the stories of beneficiaries from Tacloban and Samar where most of the ERFP beneficiaries came from.
The most affected MSMEs were in Eastern Visayas, mostly from Tacloban and Samar, so businesses like Kamiseta ni Julio of Julio Lozada and M. Espinosa Junk Shop of Michael Espinosa, both located in Tacloban, took advantage of ERFP and described how it restored their confidence in starting their businesses again.
The “Tindog Tacloban” (Tacloban, Rise Up!) shirt became Lozada’s best-selling product while Espinosa’s junk shop provided jobs again for their workers. As Espinosa said, “If I don’t work, what will happen to them?”
DTI-8 regional director Cynthia Nierras shared that affected entrepreneurs in Tacloban are glad that a program such as ERFP exists.
She also highlighted that the entire banig industry in Basey has already recovered thru this financing program. Delza Morales of Delza’s Arts and Crafts is just one of the banig makers who experienced how SB Corp accompanied her throughout the entire process of the program.
Other borrowers from Samar include 80-year old Caridad Abrera-Sison’s Immaculate Conception School of Guiuan and the husband-and-wife team of Dr. Gil and Dr. Socorro Ponferrada of Ponferrada Polymedic Hospital.
Through the ERFP, Immaculate Conception School, which served as an evacuation center during and after the typhoon, was granted a P3 million rehabilitation loan for reconstruction, while Ponferrada Polymedic Hospital received a P5 million also for reconstruction.
Dr. Socorro appreciated the program’s responsiveness and honesty, saying, “They were one of the agencies who were really there from the start. And they released on time, as they promised.” VOLTAIRE PALAÑA