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Capitol rolls out assistance program for MSMEs
By: Vanessa Almeda | Published Friday, August 14, 2020
Gov. Gwen Garcia meets with Provincial Board Member Glenn Soco, and officials of DTI and the Philippine Veterans Bank to discuss the assistance program set for the MSMEs in Cebu Province. (Lito Tecson)

True to her promise to help Cebuanos who are reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia started a program to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).  

She met with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary Asteria Caberte, Philippine Veterans Bank Vice President for Product and Development Division head Ofelia Oliva, and Provincial Board Committee on Commerce, Trade and Industry Chairman Glenn Anthony Soco to discuss the guidelines of the program.

Taking off from the DTI's Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay (NSB), the program aims to help thousands of Cebuanos who are left jobless or are now bankrupt after their small enteprises were closed because of the pandemic. 

"Tabangan ni nato ning mga istambay, mga OFWs, kadtong mga nawad-an og trabaho kay daghan nang nanara og negosyo tungod aning pandemya," the governor said.

Funding for the said program will be sourced from funds that the Office of the Governor will be allocating to the 18 PB members with an amount of P5 million per lawmaker,  and P15 million for the Office of the Vice Governor, which she earlier announced during her Message of Hope delivered during the 451st Founding Anniversary commemoration last week. 

Based on what was initially agreed, beneficiaries will be identified by the district representatives, afterwhich they will proceed to the DTI for the business development session (BDS).

Garcia gave specific instructions that during the BDS, the applicant should be presented with the businesses that are available to them while also listening to their inputs as they may have already started working on their own enterprise. 

The program will not be a direct financial aid or in a form of cash but assistance will be given through a coupon. The assistance will range from P5,000 to P10,000 which is considered as seed capital.

To ensure that they will be registered, a desk or window will be made available for them in every town or city where they belong. A focal person will be assigned to assist the applicants.

Non-payment for the issuance of permits is still being considered. 

In the meantime, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office will issue a certification showing the applicant's economic status. 

The Veterans Bank can also help businesses which have closed and will need more funding through its MSME window program for those who are affected by the pandemic, Oliva said.

By next week, the Province will open the online application through Facebook. (Vanessa L. Almeda)