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Fil-Chi group endorses aid to help MSMEs survive amid ECQ

MANILA – The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) has made recommendations to the government to help micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) survive amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement Wednesday, FFCCII President Henry Lim Bon Liong said the business group supports the ECQ and other measures of the national government to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.

However, Lim Bon Liong said the pandemic is not only a public crisis but “becoming a daunting existential economic crisis” as many MSMEs are now paralyzed.

On March 17, the national government placed the entire Luzon under ECQ wherein several businesses were forced to shut down their operations. It was extended until April 30 and the government has yet to decide whether to further prolong the quarantine period or modify it.

Among the proposals of FFCCII to help the MSMEs amid the Covid-19 crisis is subsidizing wages for employees of MSMEs.

The Department of Finance already announced a stimulus package that will assist workers in small-size businesses.

FFCCII also seeks financial support for paid sick leaves for Covid-19 patients.

To ease the liquidity pressures among MSMEs, the group recommends a government guarantee to banks to enable them to provide low-interest or zero-interest loans to enterprises.

The business group likewise asks banks to provide credit relief or moratorium on loan payments of MSMEs.

To help MSMEs continue their operations with the new normal, FFCCII urges the government to encourage MSMEs to adopt technologies by incentivizing them through financial and technical support.

Training programs will also help MSMEs to be resilient and competitive amid the crisis.

“MSMEs are important not only to our whole interconnected ecosystem, vital not only to our aspirations for economic democracy but strengthening MSMEs is crucial for upholding social justice and eradicating age-old massive poverty in the Philippines,” Lim Bon Liong added.

Just last week, the Filipino Chinese Community Charity Foundation led by Lim Bon Liong raised PHP265 million to help the front-liners battle the Covid-19 as well as the marginalized sector during the ECQ period. (PNA)


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