Baguio readies P200 million stimulus package for businesses

A government employee buys bottled water at the honesty cart stationed in front of the Baguio City Hall. The honesty cart aims to help feed a family from the marginalized sector affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.** RMC PIA-CAR

The City of Baguio is raising an initial P200-million to revive local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) crippled by the government’s quarantine measures.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said the city’s finance committee already identified P100 million from the city’s coffers for the economic stimulus package (ESP). He revealed he requested earmarking of an additional P100 million to speed up the MSMEs’ recovery.
The mayor mused, guidelines should include a condition where portion of the ESP will be given as grant; and, the bigger portion, in the form of loan. This, he said, will ensure ESP will be effectively and efficiently used by the intended beneficiaries.
Magalong revealed, the city will be working closely with the Small Business Corporation (SBC) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to ensure funds raised will be utilized by a greater number of MSMEs in the city.
Data from the City Permits and Licensing Division show there are over 22,700 businesses issued permits by the city last year. 20-percent of the businesses are in the wholesale and retail trade. Another 20-percent are classified as professional and financial services.
Dr. Gladys Navarro, an economics professor at Saint Louis University (SLU) expressed that the ESP will surely be an economic driver. It will generate employment and revive the local economy.
Navarro was one of the resource persons invited by the local government to give inputs on how the city should recover from the damage wrought by COVID-19 on the local economy.
She said financial assistance to individuals and families will not alleviate quality of life. She explained, it is the resurgence of local businesses that will drive the government’s Build-Build-Build Program, which in turn, will generate employment and raise quality of life in the city.
Navarro likewise underscored agriculture as another economic driver in the Cordilleras, expressing gains may be had if the sector receives ample support. Food, after all, is an essential need especially in these trying times, she said.** By Dexter A. See

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