MANILA, Philippines – To contain the spread of the coronavirus, lockdowns have been imposed in several provinces in the Philippines to limit the movement of people.
In areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), private establishments providing basic necessities and essential services remain open, while select people and one person per household are authorized to leave their homes. (READ: LIST: Services considered essential during Luzon lockdown)
With such restrictions, the lockdown has affected daily wage workers, many business operations, and their employees. (READ: Over half of MSMEs stopped operations due to coronavirus lockdown)
To help people whose livelihoods have been severely affected by the lockdown, Restart Micro Enterprises (RestartME), an offshoot of the Micro-Enterprise Disaster Assistance Fund for Resilience Program, has compiled a list of government programs providing support for micro-entrepreneurs.
The list includes government programs helping workers, businesses, and people in the agricultural sector, among others. It also features social welfare programs and other government support for marginalized sectors.
These programs, along with details on coverage and process for application, can be found in RestartME’s Briefer on Government Programs for Micro Entrepreneurs and Briefer on Government Loan Assistance and Financing Options for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs).
Here are several government programs that RestartME has compiled to aid businesses and workers during the pandemic. This information may change over time as government agencies update their rules.
Social welfare programs
- For all beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)
- P750-cash grant for health and P600-rice subsidy will be allotted for each family. As a response to COVID-19, each family will receive P3,650 up to P6,650 every month based on the minimum wage per region where the beneficiaries reside
Emergency subsidy program for non-beneficiaries of 4Ps
Each family may receive P5,000 to P8,000 per family based on the minimum wage per region where the beneficiaries reside
- For drivers of public utility jeepneys, UV Express vans, public utility buses, Point-to-Point buses, taxis, transport network vehicle services, school transport or school service, and motorcycles
- P5,000 to 8,000 cash assistance may be received at the nearest LandBank branch. To claim the aid, beneficiaries should bring their driver’s license and a copy, with two affixed signatures.
- Poor families or those in the informal sector who are either jobless or lost their jobs during the ECQ
- Or at least one member of that family is among the goverment’s target beneficiaries:
- Senior citizens
- Persons with disability
- Pregnant and lactating women
- Oversees Filipinos in distress
- Homeless families, indigent indigenous peoples, and other vulnerable groups
- Informal workers
- Funeral support for COVID-19 related deaths
- P3,000 for each family with 1 member included in the list of target beneficiaries. P5,000 will be given to those families with 2 or more target beneficiaries. Assistance will be given every month during the quarantine period.
- This is the sustained distribution of food and non-food essentials to the most affected individuals and families, including homeless people and workers who were stranded in the LGU due to the community quarantine
- The distribution shall be in coordination with the concerned LGU based on the implementation plan submitted by the field or regional offices
- DSWD shall provide the FNFI as augmentation support to those provided by the LGUs
Support for Filipino workers
- P5,000 will be given as one-time assistance to regular or contractual employees working in the companies that have temporarily closed or have imposed flexible work arrangements (e.g., reduction of work hours, forced leaves, rotation of workers)
- 40 hours of work (4 hours per day for 10 days maximum) for qualified beneficiaries which include the underemployed, self-employed workers, and displaced marginalized workers who lost their livelihood or whose earnings were affected by the lockdown.
- The nature of work under this program is the disinfection or sanitation of houses/dwellings and immediate civinity of houses
- TUPAD beneficiaries will be fully compensated in about the same rate of the highest minimum wage in the region
- Financial assistance will be given to overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who lost jobs due to the lockdown or community quarantine of their host country, or due to positive COVID-19 test results
- They should be in a jobsite overseas or in the Philippines as a balik-manggagawa (returning worker) to receive the assistance. No assistance will be given to those who have already received subsidy from the host country or from employers.
Beneficiaries will receive $200 or P10,000 or equivalent local currency from corresponding country of employment
- Beneficiaries may receive P5,000 to P8,000 for 2 months, based on the minimum wage of the region where they reside.
- These beneficiaries only cover workers who are part of a business not belonging to Large Taxpayer Service (LTS) based on the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s list, and who have not received salary for two weeks or more due to the lockdown
- Members paying SSS contribution for 36 months or more who lost their jobs or livelihood due to COVID-19 may receive unemployment benefits ranging from P11,000 to P20,000
- Members and pensioners of GSIS may avail of a P20,000-loan payable in 3 years and at 6% interest per year
- Members may apply if they:
- Have a fund of total savings equivalent to 24 months
- Have deposited one or more monthly savings in the last 6 months before the loan application
- Are able to pay all payables of all PAG-IBIG loans
- Are a resident of a place declared under a state of calamity
Assistance for farmers, fishermen, and agricultural workers
- Farmers with ricefield of 0.5 to 2 hectares will be given assistance. Land should be included in the 24 provinces stated in the RFFA program.
- P5,000 one-time cash assistance may be received
Financial subsidy to rice farmers (FSRF) of Department of Agriculture
- Farmers with rice field not exceeding one hectare and are not included in the 24 provinces of the RFFA program may receive P5,000 one-time cash assistance
- Farmers listed as Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries may receive P5,000 cash assistance and other needs for planting
Expanded survival and recovery assistance program (SURE Aid)
- Fishermen and farmers with ricefields not more than 1 hectare may apply for a loan of up to P15,000, which may be paid within 10 years without interest or collateral
- Landbank will lend up to P500 million a year to small rice farmers registered with the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and other accredited cooperatives
Support for businesses
- Businesses not exceeding P3 million asset size may apply for a loan amounting to P5,000-P200,000 with an interest rate not greater than 1.5% per month
- Micro and small enterprises operating for a year and more before March 2020 may apply for the following loans depending on their asset size:
- P10,000 to P200,000 for businesses with asset size not greater than 3 million
- A maximum of P500,000 for business with asset size not exceeding P10 million
- Interest rate of 0.5% per month
- All those interested in starting a business may become a member of the program
- Part of the program is to help facilitate the process of business registration, business management assistance, and other technical assistance. This also includes P5,000 to P8,000 support for the business.
- There are 3 program options:
- Formation: P10,000 maximum may be received for starting a business
- Enhancement: P15,000 maximum may be received to grow current business
- Restoration: P10,000 maximum may be received by businesses that experienced reduced profit or who were affected by COVID-19 or other calamities
Aside from financial support, beneficiaries will get SSS, Philhealth, or micro-insurance contribution for the first 3 months. They will also receive technical help on how to grow their business.
Those interested may join the group to receive mentorship. You may also visit the Facebook page of Go Negosyo.
- Microfinance institutions (MFIs) and cooperatives may apply for a loan of 85% of needed investment. This will have an interest rate of 5% every year and may be paid in 5 years.
- Public and private institutions in areas under a state of calamity operating for at least year and more prior to the declaration may avail of a loan payable within 10 years, including a 1% spread
Other government programs
- To receive vegetable seeds, people may book a courier (Lalamove, Grab, o Angkas) to the Bureau of Plant Industry at 692 San Andres St Malate, Manila or in Elliptical Road, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City, and pay for the delivery fee. These designated urban agriculture demonstration farms are open from 8 am to 5 pm, Mondays to Fridays.
- You may receive 5 of these vegetable seeds: pechay, mustard, talong, upo, ampalaya, kamatis, sitaw, and kangkong
- More information is available in Memorandum Circular No. 8 Series of 2020 at da.gov.ph.
- To purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, and other products that cost 20% cheaper than the ones in the market, buyers may proceed to Kadiwa outlets in Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City.
- There are designated Kadiwa outlets in Las Piñas, Makati, Pasig, Cainta, and Pateros. They are open Thursday to Saturday, 6 am to 5 pm.
- You may contact your LGU to express interest in establishing an outlet in your area. You may also course orders online.
- Any Filipino citizen aged 18 and above may apply for TWSP, a program that seeks to support rapid, inclusive, and sustained economic growth
- Courses offered include agri-fishery/agri-business/agroindustrial, tourism, information technology-business process management (IT-BPM), semiconductor and electronics, automotive, other priority manufacturing industries, logistics, general infrastructure, and new and emerging sectors.
- STEP is a community-based training program that seeks to address the specific skills needs of communities and create jobs through entrepreneurial, self-employment, and service-oriented activities.
- All Filipino citizens aged at least 15 may apply.
- Visit tesda.gov.ph/barangay/ to fill out the online form and receive a Learner’s ID. Additional instructions will be given by TESDA afterwards
Government loan assistance and financing options for microfinance institutions
- Rehabilitation credit programs for cooperatives and microfinance institutions
- Seeks to augment credit fund for on-lending to small farmer and fishers or micro, small, and medium enterprises
- Rehabilitation through loan restructuring
- Restructuring of existing loan account via additional loan, extended repayment period, or other means (or combination of means) to allow borrowers to rehabilitate or restore operational cash flow
Eligible borrowers include public and/or private institutions located or operating in areas under a state of calamity
Eligible borrowers include small farmers and fisherfolk whose livelihood was affected by a calamity, and their cooperatives or organizations
Eligible borrowers include marginalized and small farmers, fisherfolk, and livestock raisers whose livelihood was affected by a calamity, and their cooperatives or organizations
- Eligible borrowers include:
- Agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs)
- Farmer organizations and people’s organizations other than ARBOs with Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries or ARB household members
- Cooperatives, NGOs, and rural banks only, with ARB or ARB household members or APCP-ineligible ARBOs as clients
For corporations, cooperatives, or banks with license to engage in lending