MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are the hardest hit sector in the country even as they account for more than 90% of enterprises. Called as the backbone of the economy, MSMEs provide employment to more than 5.3M Filipinos.
Fully aware of the MSMEs role in the economy, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno has stressed the urgency to help MSMEs sustain their businesses so they can continue to provide the essential products and services people use every day.
Opportunities for MSMEs
Through the Kabuhayan Loan of BDO Network Bank (BDONB), small business owners can sustain their business operations. MSMEs which have been operating for three years are qualified to apply for a loan amount between PHP 30,000 to PHP1 million, which they can use to increase their inventory of stocks, purchase the needed equipment or assets, or expand the business with another branch in other location.
Ernesto Abad, a micro enterprise owner from Los Baños, Laguna, was among the thousands who benefited from the Kabuhayan Loan. Through the help of BDONB, he was able to increase his inventory of stocks.
“I did not expect that even during the pandemic, BDONB would offer to lend me the fund I need to buy additional poultry feeds. Closing the store temporarily crossed my mind but I was hesitant to do it since it is my only source of income. The monthly remittance from my wife in Dubai was also affected due to lockdown,” he narrated. Fortunately, he found a partner bank that helped him keep his business running and enabled him to serve the customers in his community who are into poultry farming.
Apart from increasing the inventory of stocks, ensuring accessibility of goods is another concern for small business owners. For Lulu Saquing of Cagayan Valley Region, finding ways to reach her customers is important in this time of pandemic. With the help of the Kabuhayan Loan, she was able to buy a van that enabled her to deliver goods to wholesalers. It also served as a rolling store in her community to reach people with limited mobility.
Adjusting to the new norm
In response to the needs of their MSME clients, BDONB, the community bank of BDO Unibank, quickly implemented COVID-19 related safety protocols and periodic antigen tests in the corporate offices and branches to ensure the safety of employees. Clients were assured of continuous financial assistance amid the pandemic.
Account officers met borrowers at checkpoints, towns, or stores to pick-up loan document requirements in areas where strict quarantine measures were imposed. Though branches remained open, BDONB team found ways to adapt to the situation and serve clients who cannot go to banks due to travel restrictions.
BDONB remains committed in providing financial assistance to micro entrepreneurs and help MSMEs overcome the effects of pandemic. For those who are interested in applying for Kabuhayan Loan, the list of requirements are listed on their website and on their official FB page.