MANILA, Mar 18 (Mabuhay) — Some 99,800 to 149,700 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMES) are expected to shut down permanently as the country’s economy was badly hit due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, research group IBON Foundation said Wednesday.

Citing surveys from the International Trade Center, World Bank, the United Nations Development Program and the Department of Labor and Employment, IBON said 10% to 15% of 998,342 MSMEs nationwide will likely permanently close after one year of community quarantine in the Philippines.

Despite the anticipated closure, IBON said only 28,000 of the businesses received loans from Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2, laws that provide assistance to those adversely affected by the health crisis.

“Yet under Bayanihan 1 (Bayanihan to Heal as One Act) and Bayanihan 2 (Bayanihan to Recover as One Act), loans were reportedly released to only about 28,000 MSMEs,” said IBON.

Over 30 lawmakers sought to investigate the unreleased funds of Bayanihan 2, which is expected to revive the Philippine economy and provide relief for those devastated by the pandemic.

President Rodrigo Duterte previously signed the law that extends the validity of Bayanihan 2 until the end of June this year that provides a multi-billion peso COVID-19 relief package and the 2020 national budget. 

The Philippines’ gross domestic product in 2020 reached -9.5%, the worst full year based performance since 1947, as per the Philippine Statistics Authority data. (MNS)

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