Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the loan take up of micro enterprises at the SB Corp., the micro financing arm of the government, has started to pick up. 

According to Lopez, the loan take up  has already improved from about 200 applications a week only at the start to 1,000 a week. Now, he said, “We have increased our processing capacity to about 4,000 applications per week.”

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. (ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO FILE PHOTO)

Lopez, who is also chairman of SB Corp., said the micro lender has already released P2.78 billion to 23,141 borrowers out of the P3.38 billion approved from 25,920 loan applicants. The tourism sector has less than 10 percent of total SB Corp loan take out.

Lopez, however, admitted that micro enterprises were hesitant to take out loans at first for fear they cannot pay up as they cannot still operate fully. 

With the uptick in loan take up, he said SB Corp. will continue its micro lending program, which is interest and collateral-free. “Many are still in need of working capital to save their operations and jobs,” he added.

Aside from SB Corp there are also other financial institutions like the government owned banks Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines that also extend loans and loan guarantees.

On the proposal by some sectors for a “one time, big time” lockdown to really lower the rising COVID cases, Lopez said that the current Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is already the “one time, big time” coming from a more relaxed general community quarantine. 

“We cannot be on ECQ for a long time,” he said noting that they are now looking at reopening the low risk sectors at limited operation. This means, sectors that are closed maybe opened to as much as 50 percent capacity.

Source: Manila Bulletin (