by Louella Desiderio – The Philippine Star, 3 Nov 2021
MANILA, Philippines — The financing arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has increased the maximum number of employees per company that can be covered by a loan facility to help firms finance the mandatory 13th month pay.
“From the original plan of 20 employees per company, we are even increasing it to a maximum of 40 employees per company,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said during the ceremonial launch of the 13th month pay loan facility yesterday.
Under the facility with P500 million worth of funding, every employee covered would be allocated P12,000.
Small Business (SB) Corp. spokesperson Robert Bastillo said the maximum number of employees per company covered under the facility was raised to be more responsive to the needs of micro and small businesses.
As of yesterday, SB Corp. has approved 25 applications with the total loan amounting to P5 million.
SB Corp. has so far received a total 77 applications for the facility.
The facility is open to micro and small enterprises that registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) from March last year until Oct. 15 this year for their flexible work arrangements.
DOLE assistant secretary Dominique Tutay said approximately 8,000 companies are qualified for the loan facility, based on the agency’s data.
For businesses that cannot be accommodated by the 13th month pay loan facility, Lopez said they may apply through the regular Coronavirus Disease 2019 Assistance to Restart Enterprises program.
Loans under the 13th month pay facility are at zero interest rate and payable in 12 months, with a three months grace period.
Should there be difficulties in paying the borrowed funds, Bastillo said SB Corp. would be open to help restructure the loans.
Applications for the facility which opened last Nov. 2, will be accepted until Dec.7.
“We encourage interested companies to apply now and not at the last minute because we have to close at some point to process everything before Christmas…We hope everyone applies now,” Bastillo said.
Micro and small businesses will need to go to www.bayanihancares.ph to apply for the 13th month loan facility.