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DTI: 90,000 businesses remain closed amid pandemic

/ 04:01 PM September 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Around 90,000 businesses, mostly micro small & medium enterprises (MSMEs), remain closed as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause chaos on the economy, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez told senators Monday.

During the Senate hearing on DTI’s proposed 2021 budget, Lopez said that a survey conducted by his agency shows that six percent of the total registered businesses, including MSMEs, in the country are still closed at this time.

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There are currently 1.5 million businesses registered with the DTI, 99.6 percent of which are MSMEs, according to Lopez.

“Dun po sa survey, ‘yung April to May, ang count po ay 38 percent ang closed. Nung June, July 11 percent ang closed. And then August, September, nag-run po ulit ng survey, six percent ang closed,” the DTI chief said.

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“Kumukonti naman po ‘yung closed companies, in other words, may mga nagre-re-open. So from 38 percent to 11 percent to 6 percent… Based on the survey of 3,000 respondents, that is the number coming in, nababawsan ‘yung nagko-close as many are either reopening. Pero 6 percent is a big number, that should be zero po,” he added.

Earlier in the hearing, Lopez said he is pushing for the full reopening of businesses in more sectors to re-stimulate the economy amid the pandemic.

“I understand it is not a popular appeal, especially to the health workers, but what we are trying to guarantee is if we keep the enforcement still strict and minimum health standards are in place, I believe we can safely reopen it. It’s been six months and the virus will not go away,” he said.

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