Owners of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Antique have said any financial relief to be afforded them would be a big help when they slowly reopen amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.
The entrepreneurs were reacting to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s appeal, made during his 5th State of the Nation Address on Monday, calling both the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and other financial institutions to extend loan accommodations to MSMEs without imposing additional fees or changes.
Jenelyn Ortinez, who has been selling motorcycle parts for the past year, said on Tuesday their business has suffered much during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the province starting March 16.
“Our business was then temporarily closed during the ECQ,” Ortinez said.
She noted that because their business does not belong to those selling essential goods, they were only allowed to reopen when the province was placed under modified general community quarantine last June 1.
“Since we were locked down, we were not able to have an income from our business that the financial relief that could be offered us by the banks or any financial institutions would be a big help to us,” Ortinez said, adding that more capital to purchase more items for their store is what she needs.
Meanwhile, Jims Josanth Grafane, an online businessman since 2017, said before Covid-19, some of his customers would just contact him for orders.
“I have my suppliers in Manila. I would call whenever I have orders,” Grafane said, adding that his business momentarily stopped during the ECQ.
“I am lucky that only last week, I received a bulk order from a newly-opened motorcycle parts store,” he said.
However, some of his suppliers in Manila still have difficulty sending orders to the provinces, among them Antique.
“There are still some places in Metro Manila that are on lockdown, so the suppliers there are not yet able to fully resume their businesses,” he said.
Grafane said a loan from a financial institution with zero interest would enable him to restart his online business.
He also recalled that he was a victim of an online scam last year when he could no longer contact the supplier after sending payment for an order he placed.
“I am glad that President Duterte said (in his) SONA that the government would run after online scammers,” Grafane said.
Philippines News Agency