The Small Business Corp. (SB Corp.) has released the first batch of loans for Boracay-based enterprises affected by the closure of the island resort.
Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the loans amounting to P30,000 each are intended to cushion the impact of Boracay’s shutdown on micro-enterprises. The island resort was closed for six months beginning April 26 upon this administration’s decision to rehabilitate it.
“Helping the people of Boracay island and local tourism during this period means ensuring their microentrepreneurs have access to available funds to support their businesses,” Lopez said.
The first batch was composed of seven micro-enterprises, each receiving P30,000 each through the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso, or the so-called P3 program. Payment of loans vary from monthly to semimonthly for six months to one year, depending on the borrower’s capacity to pay.
The P3 program is the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) microfinance measure to veer small businesses from onerous loans, such as the notorious “5-6” money-lending scheme. Under the P3 program, entrepreneurs can borrow as much as P300,000 with maximum interest rate of 26 percent per annum.
This is significantly lower than the 20-percent per day, week or month interest charged by 5-6 lenders. The DTI is part of the working group on employment and livelihood for affected Boracay-based businesses. It is also the agency primarily tasked to put up operations center or one-stop shop in the tourist destination.
SB Corp. President and CEO Maria Luna E. Cacanando said the P3 loans can be utilized by microenterprises for the expansion of their businesses. She added this is crucial as residents and businesses alike await the reopening of the island on October 26.
“We will assist more microentrepreneurs in the island through the P3 program to ensure that their businesses will be quick to recover and ready once the island reopens to tourists,” Cacanando vowed.
As the island resort has yet to reopen, the DTI is finding alternative markets in nearby resorts and souvenir shops where entrepreneurs can bring their products. On the other hand, the P3 program is in line with President Duterte’s directive to provide intervention to workers and businesses displaced by Boracay’s closure.