By CHINO S. LEYCO
The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) is offering rehabilitation financing support packages to cooperatives to help tide them over the economic crisis resulting from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Emmanuel Herbosa, DBP president and chief executive said that cooperatives can avail of concessional loans and other financing options through the Rehabilitation Support Program on Severe Events (RESPONSE), which is also open to its non-borrowers.
Based on Herbosa’s report to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, existing borrowers will have two options—deferment of loan repayments of up to six-months or the restructuring of loans.
Herbosa also said the loan rehabilitation program, which is open to public and private institutions located in or operating in areas declared under states of calamity, is on top of the mandatory grace period under the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act.
He said the RESPONSE program is the DBP’s contribution to the appeal by cooperatives to President Duterte for the government to come up with stimulus packages for their sector and for them to be allowed to avail of ideal rates and terms on loans.
The cooperatives’ request was coursed through COOP-NATCCO partylist Rep. Sabiniano Canama, who chairs the House committee on cooperatives development, and the Philippine Cooperative Center (PCC) chaired by Garibaldi Leonardo.
In their joint letter, Canama and Leonardo thanked President Duterte for the swift implementation of the Bayanihan Law and expressed their support for the actions and policies he has undertaken to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The cooperative sector fully supports the call of President Duterte in addressing COVID-19 and would be happy to help as well in whatever way we can in this time of crisis,” they said.
In line with the provisions of the Bayanihan Law, the government is implementing the P205-billion Social Amelioration Program (SAP), which is the largest social protection initiative in the country’s history, to benefit 18 million to 23 million poor families and informal sector workers hit the hardest by the pandemic’s economic fallout.
Another economic relief package has also been rolled out by the government—the P51-billion Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program—for the benefit of 3.4 million workers of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which employ the majority of the country’s labor force.