GUIDE bill gets thumbs up from House ways and means panel

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 10) — The House Ways and Means Committee has thrown its support behind a bill that would enable government banks to lend more money to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Committee chairperson Albay Rep. Joey Salceda put on record during Monday’s meeting the panel’s “very positive position” on House Bill 6795, or the proposed Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) Act.

The bill was passed last month by the House Defeat COVID-19 committee. It was endorsed for plenary approval on July 28.

“So the proper action being taken by the committee is really to a put into record its very positive position, especially all the main points about what GUIDE is all about and what are its features that may provide guidance on future such endeavors, especially with respect to the understanding of the legislative intent of GUIDE, as incorporated in HB 6593,” Salceda said.

The House is expected to pass HB 6593, or the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, on third and final reading Monday.

The GUIDE bill proposes a ₱55-billion allocation to the Philippine Guarantee Corporation (PGC), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) so that they can lend grant more loans to MSMEs.

Based on the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, MSMEs account for 99.52 percent of over one million registered businesses in the Philippines as of 2018.

They generated a total of 5.7 million jobs, or 63.19 percent of the country’s total employment that year.

Baguio Rep. Mark Go said the GUIDE bill has undergone “thorough consultation” with the government banks, which will benefit from increased capitalization should the measure be passed into law.