GOVERNMENT must look for more resources to be able to support micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises during the pandemic as MSMEs create jobs, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Wednesday.
“The current amounts allocated to help 50,000 of the estimated 2 million to 3 million MSMEs is a drop in the bucket. Kulang na kulang ito,” Pangilinan said.
At the Senate budget hearing with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) earlier this week, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said that 90,000 MSMEs have closed shop due to the pandemic. He said that of the P10 billion allocated to help MSMEs under Bayanihan 2, around P2.3 billion is for zero-interest loans to 50,000 non-tourism MSMEs to be paid back after 18 months.
“We want to help these distressed companies because this is where the jobs are coming from. We should provide support to distressed companies so we can maintain, ensure, and protect jobs,” Pangilinan said.
Aside from funding and credit support for MSMEs, Pangilinan advocated for a Buy Filipino campaign similar to Sen. Sonny Angara’s Tatak Pinoy campaign.
Pangilinan himself has filed Senate bill 1759, which supports the local production of personal protective equipment (PPEs), face masks, testing kits, and other medical equipment. He said this would not only ensure the supply of these items but also the creation of jobs for Filipino workers.
According to the Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE, which already employ 7,000 workers, 4,000 more workers will be employed if the bill becomes law and preference, including tax exemption, is granted to local manufacturers.
“Tumumal ang ekonomiya dahil sa COVID at mga lockdowns. Pero kung pasisiglahin natin ang ating local industries, eto ang economic stimulus na kailangan natin,” Pangilinan said.
“Buy Filipino products. Di lang panawagan ito sa karaniwang consumer, kundi pati na sa pamahalaan. After all, sino pa ang magtutulungan kundi tayo-tayo ring mga Pilipino?” he added.