ECONOMIC ROADMAP. Business leaders in Cebu express trust over the economic recovery plans presented by President Rodrigo Duterte during his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday (July 27, 2020). Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu said the issues of the business community especially on regulatory reliefs, loan reprieve, stimulus, rent waivers, among others, were given priority focus at President Duterte's SONA. (Photo courtesy of Alfredo "Jun" Nagac)


CEBU CITY – Business leaders here have expressed their optimism on the economic recovery plans announced by President Rodrigo Duterte in his fifth State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) Monday.
Steven Yu, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, said the issues concerning businesses during this crisis had widely been brought up during the SONA. 
“The issues of the business community especially on regulatory reliefs, loan reprieve, stimulus, rent waivers, etc. are given priority focus, and that is exactly what we need. The President really connects to his constituents,” Yu told the Philippine News Agency when sought for comment. 
Yu said the SONA “was well received” by the business community, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“He knows our biggest pain and concern,” he added. 
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam said Duterte touched all the vital matters of his administration’s thrust for economic recovery.
In his SONA, the Chief Executive said the government “will intensify its efforts to help businesses” especially the MSMEs by providing responsive government aid, capitalization, and business operations support as they adapt to the next normal.
He also urged commercial lessors to come up with amenable arrangements with their tenants and give grace periods or allow deferment of payments, especially for MSMEs, that were forced to close down during the quarantine period.
“We pump-primed the recovery and rehabilitation of MSMEs,” he added. 
The Department of Trade and Industry, through its financing unit Small Business Corp., set up the P1-billion Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) Program to provide zero-interest loans for MSMEs affected by the pandemic. 
As of July 10, 2020, over 2,600 loan applications worth PHP182.5 million have been approved. 
“We are optimistic that this initiative will help our MSMEs stabilize and recover from their losses,” Duterte said. 
“As we embark on these efforts towards inclusive recovery, we should acknowledge that all forms of government support will go to naught if the new MSMEs do not thrive because of lack of consumer support,” he said. 
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and banks have been urged to provide regulatory relief for MSMEs and allow loan payment extensions, without incurring penalties and charges. (PNA) #DuterteSONA2020    #WeRiseAsOne