THE Baguio City Council has enacted an amendment to the city’s Baguio’s Revitalization Actions for a Vibrant Economy – Economic Stimulus Package (BRAVE-ESP), a program providing monetary assistance in the form of interest-free loans to Baguio City micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Previously, the BRAVE-ESP program, a stimulus package intended to provide assistance for COVID-19-hit businesses in the city, limited loan amounts for micro-enterprises to P50,000, and small enterprises to P100,000.
However, under the amended program, all MSMEs can now take out loans of up to P200,000 and can avail of the loans even if they have availed of similar loan packages from other government institutions.
The program has also been expanded to allow new startup businesses to take out similar interest-free loans worth up to a maximum of P50,000.
For loans P50,000.00 and below, the repayment period is a minimum of six months up to a maximum of 12 months, while for loans above P50,000.00, the repayment period is a minimum of six months to 30 months. Borrowers will also be allowed a grace period of six months.
The amendment to the BRAVE-ESP program was initially proposed by Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong following reports that the fund set aside for the program has been underutilized.
Previously, the original budget of P100 million set aside for the BRAVE-ESP program was reduced to some P40 million, with the P60 million having been realigned to COVID-19 vaccine acquisition instead. Eventually, the amount was again reduced to some P31 million afterward.
According to the City Treasury Office, of the P31,751,120 available under the current BRAVE-ESP program, only 213 loan applications totaling only P8,767,000 of assistance have been approved to date.