The trade department has begun a loan program to help small businesses recover from the impact of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the program was part of a P1-billion Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing facility under the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) to “support micro and small businesses affected by the economic impact of Covid19 in the country.”

The loan program, called “Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises” or (Cares), seeks to augment the government’s economic stimulus program and provide business loans to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) get back on their feet, the DTI said.

MSMEs account for 99 percent of businesses nationwide and were hardest hit by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The loan will depend on the size of the establishment. The amount can range from P10,000 to P200,000 for firms with asset sizes of up to P3 million, while a business with a P15-million asset size can borrow as much as P500,000.

The interest rate is a 0.5 percent per month and there is a six-month grace period for the repayment of the principal.

To qualify, borrowers must have an asset size of P15 million or below, must be operating prior to March 16 and must have been affected by the ECQ. (Jojo Mangahis)