Release of P36B in relief funds for businesses hit by pandemic awaits Duterte OK
MANILA, Philippines—Up to P36 billion in relief funds for businesses battered by the pandemic will be released as soon as President Rodrigo Duterte signs the bill extending the fund life of Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2, according to Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado on Monday (Dec. 21).
The funds would be coursed through Philippine Guarantee Corp. and two state-owned banks—Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
The three-month life of Bayanihan 2 ended last Saturday (Dec. 19).
In a text message, Avisado said total releases from Bayanihan 2 to agencies involved in COVID-19 response had reached P103 billion out of an allotment of P140 to P165.5 billion.
Avisado said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was expecting a total of P39 billion in fund infusion into Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines and PhilGuarantee.
Under Bayanihan 2, PhilGuarantee is getting P5 billion for a credit guarantee program for businesses. Land Bank is getting P18.5 billion for low-interest loans for businesses and businessmen while DBP is getting P6 billion for the same purpose.
“With the expiration of the law, release will be made upon enactment of extension,” Avisado said.
Congress had already approved the extended validity of unreleased and unspent Bayanihan 2 funds and the measure now only awaited Duterte’s signature.
In a text message on Monday, PhilGuarantee president and chief executive Alberto E. Pascual said the DBM has yet to release the funds to the state-run firm due to some technicalities.
“Understand there are some issues as PhilGuarantee is a merger of two agencies, Philippine Export-Import Credit Agency (Philexim) and Home Guaranty Corp. (HGC),” Pascual said. “But this is being addressed by our comptroller,” he added.
PhilGuarantee was formed by Executive Order (EO) No. 58 signed by Duterte in 2018, which merged Philexim with HGC.
The EO also transferred to the consolidated agency the guarantee functions, funds and programs of Small Business Corp. (SB Corp.) and the administration of Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool and Industrial Guarantee and Loan Fund.
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