MANILA—As of December 2022, the Small Business Corporation’s (SBCorp) lending for pandemic-affected MSMEs already exceeded the Bayanihan funds downloaded by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) under the Bayanihan 2 Act.

To date, PHP8.20 billion worth of loans have been approved to 50,003 MSMEs under the CARES Program and for SBCorp’s other lending programs targeted to assist MSMEs adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Given this, SBCorp has in fact already exceeded the PHP8.08 billion in funds downloaded to it under the Bayanihan 2 Act.

As part of the government’s response to assist in the financing of MSMEs affected by COVID-19 and its economic impacts, the Bayanihan 2 Act warranted a capital infusion to SBCorp worth PHP10 billion. However, only PHP8.08 billion was released by DBM, which was downloaded in November 2020. Out of which, PHP7.93 billion were loan funds, the rest were allotted for mobilization and operating expenses.

Further, of the PHP7.93 billion loan funds, PHP4 billion was set aside for travel and tourism related loans, the remaining PHP3.93 billion were used for lending to multi-sectoral MSMEs or businesses in the trading, manufacturing, services, agriculture, and other sectors.

In the tourism sector, SBCorp in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) also implements a loan program for tourism enterprises also known as the CARES for TRAVEL. Unfortunately, uptake of tourism loans was and remains sluggish. As of December 2022, only the amount allotted for tourism MSMEs remains from the original DBM disbursement. Most established tourism related enterprises loan from banks as they require bigger amounts. As of 30 November 2022, only PHP329 million worth of loans to 735 tourism enterprises have been released by the Corporation.

SBCorp looks forward to disbursing funds previously set aside for tourism MSMEs to multisectoral MSMES starting January 2023. It is worth noting that tourism MSMEs and other tourism-related establishments may still avail of loans under the terms for multisectoral MSMEs beginning January 2023. END.