The Iloilo Provincial Government, through the Provincial Trade, Investment and Cooperative Development Office (PTICDO) distributed checks worth P1,055,000 to small businesses and Overseas Filipino Workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 10 entrepreneurs engaging in micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and two displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) received the assistance. The loan comes in the amount of P20,000 up to P100,000 with zero percent (0%) interest. Payment is within one to two years with a six-month grace period. The soft loan is under the Expanded Micro Business Recovery Assistance during Crisis and Emergency (EMBRACE) program being implemented by the Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion Center (LEDIP) which is a unit of PTICDO. It is part of the economic recovery program of the provincial government which aims to help micro businesses and displaced OFWs mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
Board Members Rolly Distura and Jason Gonzales sponsored the ordinance for the implementation of EMBRACE. Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. said EMBRACE is a regular program of the province to “pump prime our affected businesses.” A budget of P15 million good for three years was allotted for the program. Each district will receive P3 million. LEDIP previously distributed P460,000 loan assistance to five beneficiaries which comprise Batch 1. Micro-enterprise owners must have the following qualifications:
- a bonafide resident of Iloilo Province for at least six months;
- business is located in the province for at least one year;
- suffered substantial losses due to temporary closure of operations for at least one month within the period of crisis or emergency and losses attributed to at least 20% decrease in monthly revenues for two months;
- engaged in industry, agri-business and/or services with an asset of not more than P3 million;
- employed at least two employees from the province within the same period but not more than nine months.
OFWs must be a resident of the province for at least six months; have experienced job displacement due to receiving country’s national crisis and emergency or having been infected by any communicable disease; have not received any credit assistance from the host country; and active members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA).