MANILA - Sen. Francis Pangilinan on Monday called on government to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which he said is the backbone of the Philippine economy.
“We must come together to address the challenges of MSMEs so that we can finally move towards a new normal that is addressing unemployment, hunger, and joblessness," he said during a virtual hearing by the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.
Amid the high unemployment rate in the Philippines, Pangilinan told the Department of Trade and Industry that boosting MSMEs will help in reducing workless Filipinos.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier this month said they registered 4.14 million jobless Filipinos last April.
Sen. Nancy Binay, meanwhile, asked DTI officials why the department is urging MSMEs to take loans even if they can't make enough profits.
“I am just trying to be realistic. We know that it would be hard for some businesses to resume operation during the pandemic. We should have a program on where they can go or how they can survive. Why would we encourage them to borrow for their business when they cannot be successful?" she said.
DTI representatives admitted they don't have a list but they have identified rising businesses that can operate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Binay said the safety seal being issued by the trade office can guide the public which establishments are following the public health standards placed to curb COVID-19 transmission.
Committee chairman Sen. Koko Pimentel said he will issue a joint report on the COVID-19 crisis' effect on the Philippine economy with Sen. Imee Marcos, who leads the Committee on Economic Affairs.
—Report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News