House panel OKs bill expanding lending programs to MSMEs hit by COVID-19 | Inquirer News

House panel OKs bill expanding lending programs to MSMEs hit by COVID-19

/ 04:59 PM August 30, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — A bill that would expand the government’s lending programs for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) has been approved by the House of Representatives committee on banks and financial intermediaries on Tuesday.

During the hearing earlier, the said panel approved the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) —  the first House Bill filed under the 19th Congress authored by House Speaker and Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, and Tingog party-list Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre.

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House Bill No. 1 was consolidated with similar proposals filed separately by Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, and Benguet Rep. Eric Go Yap.

If enacted, the bill would allocate P7.5 billion to the Land Bank of the Philippines and P2.5 billion to Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), or a total of P10 billion that would be open for MSMEs who may need assistance for their businesses.

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The same bill would also increase DBP’s capital stock from P35 billion to P100 billion, divided into one billion shares of P100 each.

Committee chairperson and Manila 5th District Rep. Irwin Tieng said that the consolidated bill would be forwarded to the committee on ways and means for the funding and tax provisions.

“There is a motion duly seconded, the bills on GUIDE by virtue of Section 48 of the rules of the House of Representatives are hereby approved. The secretariat is directed to prepare the committee report,” Tieng said during the hearing.

“As a matter of procedure, we have to submit our approved committee report to the appropriations for funding and of course for ways and means for tax provision,” he added.

This is not the first time that the GUIDE was introduced in Congress. In the 18th Congress, the House had already approved a similar bill on the third reading, but it did not reach the President’s desk due to time constraints in the Senate.

Last January 8, former House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco asked the Senate to pass eight priority bills, including the GUIDE Act before the campaign period for the 2022 elections.

Committees can also dispose of priority measures already filed and approved on the third reading in the previous Congress. Similarly, the said bill is part of the priorities under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s legislative agenda.

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According to Acidre, the bill is crucial to helping the country recover from the pandemic’s effects, as it would revive businesses that stimulate the local economy.

“The pandemic has placed a severe strain on our economy. The previous Congress successfully passed several versions of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act to cushion the economic impact of COVID-19. Nevertheless, our micro, small and medium enterprises remain struggling to survive the deleterious effects of the pandemic,” Acidre said.

“In view of the foregoing, it is our humble but firm belief that we need to create a more enabling environment for financial access for our MSMEs,” he added.

READ: Making MSMEs more productive and more competitive through collective action

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TAGS: House bill, Lending, MSMEs
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