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Terms for tourism business loans eased

The government has extended to two years the grace period for repayment of the business loans to distressed tourism enterprises under Bayanihan 2 Act, the government’s pandemic recovery program.

The Department of Tourism (DOT), in a press release, said the terms of the interest-free soft loans have been relaxed even more to encourage more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism industry to avail themselves of the loan facility managed by the Small Business Corp. (SB Corp) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The relaxed terms also allow for a second round of loans for employee retention and a maximum loanable amount of P5 million. The adjustment to the terms of the CARES for TRAVEL partnership program of the DOT and SB Corp was in response to the current needs of tourism MSMEs.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat urged more tourism businesses to take advantage of the loan to help them recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We thank DTI Sec Ramon Lopez and the SB Corp for making these necessary adjustments to help tourism businesses thrive amid this global health crisis. While we see the vaccination of tourism workers as the light at the end of the tunnel for the industry, we also know that tourism businesses still badly need the government’s support to get by in the coming months as we wait for vaccine doses to arrive,” Puyat said.

In a letter to the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) recently, the SB Corp said it had approved the extension of the grace period for loan payments from one to two years for tourism MSMEs accredited by the DOT or registered by the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBE).

To help tourism enterprises maintain their operations and retain their employees, the SB Corp also increased the loanable amount relative to the enterprise’s financial details. Under the amended guidelines, the loan amount shall not exceed 15 percent of annual sales of the business or 20 percent of asset size, whichever is higher — not lower as previously required by SB Corp.

The figures will be based on the financial statements for 2018 or 2019 filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

The maximum loanable amount for applicants with BIR-filed financial statements remains at P5 million for medium enterprises, P3 million for small enterprises, and P300,000 for micro enterprises.

Businesses with existing loans under the Bayanihan CARES program may also reapply for a second round of loan for employee retention, provided that the applicants with existing loans under the program will not exceed the maximum loanable amount and that their BIR-filed financial statements support a higher loan amount.*

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