Govt offering small businesses loans for workers' 13th-month pay

Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 18 2021 03:30 PM

Woodcarver Francis Amoring works on a door at their shop along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on April 29, 2020. Small businesses are seeing hard times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Woodcarver Francis Amoring works on a door at their shop along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on April 29, 2020. Small businesses are seeing hard times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The government is offering a loan facility for distressed small and micro enterprises that need to pay workers' 13th-month pay, the agency in charge of the program said on Thursday. 

The Small Business Corp (SB Corp), an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, said small businesses can borrow up to P480,000, which is enough to give P12,000 each to 40 workers. 

SB Corp said the program that caters to micro and small businesses hit by the pandemic to help entrepreneurs. 

The loan facility is open to SMEs that had to resort to flexible working arrangements, suffered temporary closure before Nov. 2, or had to retrench a number of employees, said SB Corp Spokesman Lito Acupan. 

The program aims to help more than 41,000 workers get their 13th-month pay despite the hardship their company is experiencing.

Eligible and interested enterprises can register with the Bayanihan Cares website before applying for the loan.

Companies with up to 4 workers, only need to present a barangay permit and a government-issued ID plus a bank account. Businesses with more than 4 workers, meanwhile are required to present a Mayor's permit and a corporate secretary authorization.

Companies with up to 99 workers can still apply but only up to 40 workers can be covered, meaning the loanable amount will only be good to give 13th-month pay to 40 workers.

After application, the company needs to wait for 5-10 days to know whether the loan is approved or denied.

A company that has been approved and taken out the loan will have a 3 month grace period to pay the loan which is payable in one year at zero interest.

SB Corp charges a service fee of 4 percent, meaning a maximum loan of P480,000, the service fee is P19,200.

Eligible recipients are in the Labor Department's database of 15,000 micro and small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic, Acupan said. 

He added that SB corp will no longer monitor if the money lent will actually go to workers' 13th-month pay, explaining that the government will just rely on good faith on the part of the loaning party.

But a small grocery store owner interviewed by ABSCBN said it is unlikely that many businessmen will avail of the loan just to comply with the law-mandated 13th pay for workers.

He said most of them are already have a lot of debts, so they would rather talk to workers if the 13th-month pay can be staggered or exchanged for Christmas goods.

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