DTI: Micro, small businesses can borrow ₱200,000 to ₱500,000 at low interest rates

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 14) - The government is extending assistance to micro and small businesses to help weather the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it has allotted a ₱1 billion fund to give to small and micro businesses that are not able to operate because of the crisis.

Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo told CNN Philippines on Tuesday that micro businesses can borrow up to ₱200,000 and small businesses up to ₱500,000 with minimal interest rates.

DTI classifies micro businesses as those with an asset size equal to or less than ₱3 million and employing one to nine workers.

Meanwhile, small businesses, by definition, are those with an asset size of more than ₱3 million but less than ₱15 million and employing 10 to 99 workers.

Castelo said micro and small businesses can use the loan assistance program for rehabilitating their business, capital investment in case they have exhausted their existing one, or loan amortization for vehicles and other concrete assets of the business.

"Interest of loans for the small business corporations is very minimal, it’s 0.5 percent," Castelo said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

Castelo said any business existing for one year by March 2020 is qualified for the loan assistance, and that applications may be submitted online.

She added that they are also helping micro and small businesses through commercial rents assistance.

"Any amount accrued during the enhanced community quarantine puwede nilang i-delay ang payments, split into six months, para monthly nilang huhulugan," Castelo said.

[Translation: Any amount accrued during the enhanced quarantine community, they can delay payments and split it into six months so they pay for it with monthly instalments.]

She added that landlords have been encouraged to provide further assistance if they can.

"Kung puwede nilang hindi na i-collect yung rental charges for the month during ECQ, they’re also encouraged to do that," Castelo said.

[Translation: If they have the option to not collect rental charges for the month during the enhanced community quarantine, they are also encouraged to do that.]