Perla Lena

August 27, 2021

The Iloilo provincial government is processing the release of loan assistance to five small businesses through the Expanded Microbusiness Recovery Assistance During Crisis and Emergency (EMBRACE) program.

Velma Jane Lao, Iloilo province’s Local Economic & Investment Promotion Officer (LEIPO) in an interview Friday, said five other applicants are set to be validated as they continue to invite those interested to avail of the assistance.

EMBRACE is a loan assistance program for micro-entrepreneurs and returning overseas Filipino (ROFs) workers who are residents of this province affected by the health pandemic, she said.

Its implementation is backed by Iloilo Provincial Ordinance number 2020-242 passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod in October last year, which annually allocates PHP15 million as fund support to be divided into the province’s five districts.

“The purpose was really to help them recover from the effects of the pandemic,” she said in an interview.

It is open to micro-entrepreneurs with an asset of not more than PHP3 million whose businesses have suffered substantial losses due to crisis and emergency.

A qualified micro-entrepreneur can receive a minimum of PHP20,000 to a maximum of PHP100,000.

“It is free of interest and collateral although a three percent service fee will be charged upon processing of the loan and is deductible from the principal amount to be released,” Lao said.

The loan assistance of up to PHP50,000 is payable in one year and two years for over PHP50,000.

Lao said around 70 percent of the micro-entrepreneurs in the province have reopened but due to the stricter quarantine restrictions, some have to scale down operations.

Meanwhile, ROFs with no economic sources may avail of the loan to start their own business, however, Lao said they have yet to receive applications from this sector.

Those who are interested are advised to visit the LEIPO of their respective local government units.