MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have extended to two years the grace period for repayment of the business loans to distressed tourism enterprises under Bayanihan 2 Act, the government’s pandemic recovery program.

The DOT said the terms of the interest-free loans have been relaxed even more to encourage more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism industry to avail themselves of the loans under CARES for TRAVELS managed by the SB Corp.

The flexible terms also allow existing borrower MSMEs to apply for additional loans for employee retention and a maximum loanable amount of P5 million. The adjustment to the terms of the CARES for TRAVEL partnership program of the DOT and SB Corp was in response to the current needs of tourism MSMEs. 

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat urged more tourism businesses to take advantage of the loan to help them offset losses brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We thank the SB Corp for making these necessary adjustments to the CARES for TRAVEL program to further help tourism businesses thrive amid this global health crisis. While we see the vaccination of tourism workers as the light at the end of the tunnel for the industry, we also know that tourism businesses still badly need the government’s support to get by in the coming months as we wait for vaccine doses to arrive,” Puyat said.  

In a recent letter to the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP), the SB Corp said it had approved the extension of the grace period for loan payments from one year, to two years for tourism MSMEs accredited by the DOT or registered as Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBE).

To help tourism enterprises maintain their operations and retain their employees, the loanable amount relative to the enterprises’ financial details was also increased. Under the amended guidelines, the loan amount shall not exceed 15 percent of annual sales of the business or 20 percent of its asset size, whichever is higher — not lower, as previously required by the SB Corp.

The figures will be based on the financial statements for 2018 or 2019 filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), while the maximum loanable amount for applicants with BIR-filed financial statements remains at P5 million for medium enterprises, P3 million for small enterprises, and P600,000 for micro-enterprises.  

Businesses with existing loans under the Bayanihan CARES program may also reapply for the second round of loans for employee retention, provided that the applicants with existing loans under the program will not exceed the maximum loanable amount and that their BIR-filed financial statements support a higher loan amount.

The SBCorp also changed the reckoning date for determining the business track record of the MSME applying for loans from operating for atleast one year immediately prior to March 16, 2020 to operating for atleast one year as of loan application date.

-Department of Tourism


Posted in June 15, 2021