Reviving PH tourism through DOT's livelihood revitalization program

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The COVID-19 pandemic not only triggered a health crisis, but it also clobbered the economy. Many businesses, especially those in the tourism sector, suffered as borders were closed and people werre advised to stay at home and avoid leisure travels.

To address the business slump, the government came up with several ways to help affected businesses through the Bayanihan 2 loan relief, which includes the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises for Tourism Rehabilitation and Vitalization of Enterprises and Livelihood program (CARES FOR TRAVEL). The Department of Tourism together with the Small Business Corporation (SBC) is implementing this program, a special financing facility under the Department of Trade and Industry for micro and small tourism businesses to help them restart amid the crisis.

Launched during the height of the pandemic, the P6-billion CARES for Travel program aims to provide critically impacted tourism MSMEs with zero-interest, no collateral working capital loans.

Those eligible for the loan are microenterprises (asset size not more than P3 million), small enterprises (asset size not exceeding P15 million), and medium enterprises (asset size not more than P100 million.)

A business should also be predominantly owned by a Filipino and operating for at least one year as of the date of application. It should also not have unresolved major negative credit dealings and should have financial statements filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue. In the absence of the latter, the 2019 and 2020 Barangay Permit or Mayor’s Permit must be submitted, along with pictures and videos of inventories, equipment, and assets that will clearly aid the assessor to determine the asset size of the business.

For those with BIR-filed documents, the maximum loan amount is up to P600,000 for micro-enterprises, up to P3 million for small enterprises, and up to P5 million for medium enterprises. The amount shall not exceed 15% of the annual sales and 20% of the asset size of the enterprise.

For those without government-filed financial statements, up to P200,000 may be granted if asset size is P1 million and valid proof of sales in 2018 and/or 2019 to be also submitted shows annual sales of P1.5 million.

The one-time service fee may range from 4% to 8% depending on the loan term that ranges from one to a maximum of four years (including grace period). The corresponding service fee will be deducted upfront from the loan proceeds of the enterprise. For the grace period, this may range from 3, 6, 9, or 12 months for all loan applicants depending on the applicant’s choice.

As of March 25, the facility has received a total of 558 loan applications amounting to around P427.7 million. Of this, P122 million applications were approved and some P90 million were released, most of which are in the National Capital Region, Central Visayas, MIMAROPA, Western Visayas, and Northern Mindanao.

For those interested, loan applications must be online through