MANILA, Philippines – The government is set to release an additional P100 million for exporters after the government realigned the initial P1-billion export fund for calamity relief.
In an interview, Trade Secretary Jesli A. Lapus said he asked the government for P100 million to help exporters deal with the strengthening of the peso against the dollar.
In a letter to Lapus, Malacañang ordered a check for a possible funding source for the export support fund amounting to P100 million.
“The export support fund was re-aligned to the calamity fund and this was done unilaterally,” Lapus said. He said this was done during the time when typhoons Pepeng and Ondoy hit the country late last year.
Of the P1-billion export fund, P200 million was cleared and approved for release but only P51.15 million was actually given to exporters.
Lapus said the P200 million is separate from the additional P100 million they will be asking the government because the P200 million has already been designated to 24 projects.
The beneficiaries of the P100 million will be chosen among the exporters who have submitted their projects to the government. There are 122 pending projects for evaluation. “We will fast track this. We hope to release this before the end of the Arroyo administration,” Lapus said.
In order to further support the industry, Lapus said he will order the direct payment of the suppliers. Before, the procedure was to reimburse the expenses.
Last Wednesday, Lapus met with Cebu exporters to discuss how the government can help small and medium sized exporters.
In the position paper, the Confederation of Philippine Exporters Foundation (Philexport Cebu), has asked the DTI to abandon its plan to realign the P1-billion budget allocation for the Export Support Fund permanently and fasttrack the approval of project proposals pending before the Export Development Council.
Likewise, Cebu exporters asked the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to actively promote the P1-billion foreign exchange hedge fund for exporters.
Also, they asked the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to rationalize their market intervention policy and set tighter intervention levels to avoid wide swings in the exchange rate. –Ma. Elisa P. Osorio (The Philippine Star)