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The government and private institutions are ready to help micro and small business enterprises in giving the 13th month pay to their employees by providing them with soft loans.

In a press briefing Tuesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the rural banks in the country are willing to give them loans with minimum interest and no collateral.

“I’m very happy to say that I just received a letter from Secretary Mon Lopez of DTI, my partner, that they have a fund of PHP10 billion in the Small Business Corporation, this is an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry and they are willing to share about PHP4 billion. Soft loans for micro and small business enterprises without any collateral so that they can pay the 13th month pay of their employees,” he added.

“And then I also have a call, partner, another good news. I have a call from the president of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines, Ms. Liza Timbol, telling us or advising us that all the rural bankers are willing to provide soft loans to all micro and small business enterprises so that they can pay the 13th month pay of their employees,” the DOLE chief said.

Asked on where these companies can apply for the soft loan, Bello said, “They can apply with the government (banks), that is the Land Bank of the Philippines or the DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) or just like what I’ve said, all the banks in Metro Manila and throughout the Philippines are ready to lend.”

“And what is more impressive is the volunteerism of rural bankers, their president called me and told me that they are willing to give soft loan and when we they say soft loan, they mean minimum interest with no collateral requirement,” he added.

Aside from providing a soft loan, Bello said another option is to provide subsidies to these companies.

“We addressed this to His Excellency, the President, if there are standby fund or savings, is it possible to subsidize at least the micro and small business enterprises,” he added.

The assistance will be provided to companies that are having a hard time raising money for the payment of the 13 month pay due to the coronavirus disease pandemic.

Under the law, private companies are mandated to pay the 13th month pay of their employees on or before December 24. (PNA)

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