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Lopez assures corruption-free Bayanihan 2

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has assured that what have been allocated for retailers and micro and small enterprises under the Bayanihan to Recover As One or Bayanihan 2 will go to the intended beneficiaries.

Lopez gave this assurance during a TV interview as he responded to concerns raised by retailers and other businesses of potential corruption in the disbursement of the P165.5 billion Bayanihan 2 economic stimulus package.

“We have reports and transparency is very much alive in government nowadays and one can examine even the type of loans and the granting of loans that we do,” he said. He cited that SB Corp. has already lent out P3.5 billion in the last three years to close to 6 million MSME borrowers. SB Corp. micro financing has a repayment rate of 95 percent.     

This only showed that SB Corp. was able to turnaround the money for relending to micro enterprises, he said. 

“Experience tells us and track record and repayment high at 95 percent that the funds really go to the micro enterprises,” he said.

Lopez also said that as soon as Bayanihan 2 is signed by President and the budget is released, retailers and businesses would get more support because Bayanihan 2 will definitely augment SB Corp. funds, which initially had only P1 billion.

So far, the micro financing arm of the government has already approved P1.3 billion loans and P3.5 billion in loan applications are being processed.

Under the Bayanihan 2, SB Corp has fund allocation of P10 billion will go to the SB Corp. and P4 billion to be devoted for low-interest loans to micro, small, and medium enterprises, cooperatives, hospitals, and overseas Filipino workers.

With the additional allocation from Bayanihan 2, Lopez said SB Corp. would be able to continue its lending program.  

To further help micro retailers, Lopez said the proposed Internet Transactions Act in the Senate seeks to provide income tax holiday for two to three years.

At present, all businesses whether online or traditional have to pay 12 percent value added tax. But those with annual gross sales of P250,001 up to P3 million are required to pay 5 percent VAT only and zero VAT for those earning P250,000 and below.

Notably, the DTI was able to register 1,753 online businesses from January to 15 March this year. However, from the start of community quarantine period in 16 March 2020 until 31 August 2020, there was a 4,080 percent increase to 73,276 in online business name registration.

He said that more businesses will reopen at increased capacities once Metro Manila will be placed under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). Most areas in the country are already under MGCQ.

Lopez further said that the Inter Agency Task Force on the Management of Infectious and Emerging Diseases is also of the same mindset towards reopening of the domestic economy under strict compliance of the minimum health protocols.

With the reopening of the domestic economy, he expressed hope that it would not be a “sad Christmas” for retailers as he looked forward to higher capacities from the current 30 to 40 percent capacity of establishments such as restaurants and salons. Metro Manila mayors have also agreed to relax their curfew hours from 8 pm to 10 pm to allow restaurants to accommodate more dine-in guests.

Meantime, Lopez has encouraged the big malls and retailers in Metro Manila to also hold virtual mega sale just like the “2020 Great Cebu Sales” from September 15 to October 31.

The Cebu virtual sale has already attracted 100 vendors selling apparel, gadgets, appliances and even the famous “Cebu Lechon”.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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