The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has agreed to set aside P4 billion for lending to micro and small enterprises (MSEs) to cover for the 13th month pay of their workers.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez has offered to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) the option of funding the 13th month pay of workers of cash-strapped MSEs by sharing P4 billion out of the P10 billion fund of the SB Corp. under the COVID Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES).
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III estimates MSEs in need of help would require at least P3.5 billion to comply with the mandatory 13th month pay benefit or a much bigger amount of P13 billion for the 5.7 million workers estimated by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Lopez in a text message said the procedures and qualifications for the loan will follow that of the CARES where MSEs should have been in operation for more than a year. Loans under CARES are for the use of companies to fund their working capital and operations.
The loans will be collateral-free and will carry no interest.
They are, however, subject to a one-time processing fee.
Meanwhile, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines has also expressed willingness to open a lending window for MSEs for soft loans that will finance their employees’ 13th month pay. – I. Isip