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DTI offers P4 billion loans for MSEs 

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) offers to provide P4 billion worth of soft loans for micro and small enterprises or MSEs for the 13th month pay of employees, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said in a report by Philippine News Agency.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the DTI expressed willingness to extend soft loans for small businesses that are having difficulty complying with the 13th month pay law due to the pandemic.

“Trade Secretary Mon Lopez informed me that they have a funding of P10 billion from DTI’s attached agency, Small Business Corp., and they are willing to share about P4 billion of the amount,” Bello said.

Lopez said the fund is part of the P10-billion given to SB Corp. under the Bayanihan 2 law.

Aside from the DTI, Bello said the Rural Bank Association of the Philippines also expressed readiness to extend loans to help small companies pay the 13th month pay of employees.

“With soft loan they mean minimum interest with no collateral requirement,” he said.

According to Bello, the bankers’ association has committed to fast-track the processing of loans so that companies would be able to grant the 13th month pay of employees on or before Dec. 24.

He said he has asked President Duterte if the government still has standby fund to subsidize the payment of 13th month pay.

A minimum of P3.5 billion to as much as P13 billion is needed for the subsidy program, Bello said.

He said there is no reason for companies not to comply with the law.

“It cannot not be paid or lessened, it cannot be postponed. The law is very clear, the 13th month pay must be paid on or before Dec. 24,” he said.

Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo called on private companies to release the 13th month pay of employees ahead of the deadline set by law as the nation continues to grapple with the pandemic.

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