OVER P184 million worth of COVID-19 assistance and recovery loans have been distributed by the Department of Trade and Industry Cordillera office (DTI-CAR) to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region since 2020, DTI-CAR Regional Director Myrna Pablo said on Wednesday.
The interest-free loans were released as part of the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program of the DTI-CAR to some 15,567 MSMEs throughout the region.
According to Pablo, the largest portion of the loans have been availed of in Benguet, which accounts for P70 million of the entire loan total across the entire region, which all of the Cordillera provinces have availed of.
The interest-free loans are payable over three years, after extensions were implemented to ease the burden on those that avail of the loans in the region.
“The country is still in a pandemic and the market remains unstable. That is why DTI has extended the repayment policy to three years from only one year at the start of the program in 2020,” she said.
The loans have been availed of by nearly 62 percent of the MSMEs registered with the DTI in the region, which currently number approximately 25,000 businesses.
Of all registered MSMEs, only 35 percent in the Cordillera are operating at full capacity, with 50 percent operating only at partial capacity and 15 percent having closed down since the start of the pandemic.