MANILA, Philippines — The government has extended the grace period for the payment of loans to distressed tourism micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as other terms for soft loans were further relaxed, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced on Thursday.
The DOT said the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Small Business (SB) Corp. has extended the grace period of the interest-free soft loans to two years from one year, along with other relaxed terms under Bayanihan 2, the government’s pandemic recovery program.
The relaxed terms also allowed the second round of loans to help tourism enterprises retain their employees, according to the agency. Businesses with existing loans may also reapply for the second round of loans for employee retention, given that their existing loans will not exceed the maximum loanable amount and that their Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) filed financial statements support a higher loan amount.
DOT said only those tourism MSMEs accredited by the tourism department or registered by the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises could avail of the relief measure.
The loan amount — which will be based on the businesses’ BIR’s 2018 or 2019 financial statements — shall not exceed 15 percent of annual sales of the business or 20 percent of its asset’s size, according to DOT, citing SB Corp.
The maximum loanable amount for business is now at P5 million for medium enterprises, P3 million for small enterprises, and P300,000 for micro-enterprises, the agency added.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat welcomed the relief measure as she encourages tourism MSMEs to avail the loan.
“We thank DTI Sec Ramon Lopez and the SBCorp for making these necessary adjustments to help tourism businesses thrive amid this global health crisis,” Puyat was quoted as saying.
“While we see the vaccination of tourism workers as the light at the end of the tunnel for the industry, we also know that tourism businesses still badly need the government’s support to get by in the coming months as we wait for vaccine doses to arrive,” she added.
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