THE Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc. (AFFI) launched a campaign backing local consumption to support small businesses affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

AFFI in a virtual launch of its “BUYanihan” campaign on Friday presented stakeholders offering services to micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSME), including mobile application and financial service companies.

Startup company LOCQ, for example, presented its Price LOCQ mobile application for monitoring fuel prices and buying fuel at the preferred price for future redemption.

“As you know, the prices [of oil have] been increasing a lot over the last few weeks and if you had the app then you would’ve been able to save a lot already. You can fix your opex (operation expense) on fuel and control your budget,” LOCQ Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark L. Yu said.

The program also presented an online business loans platform, transportation services, and health services.

The BUYanihan campaign is AFFI’s multisectoral campaign supported by the Trade department, the intellectual property office, and in cooperation with the Philippine Marketing Association.

MSMEs make up more than 99% of Philippine businesses. Based on 2018 Philippine government statistics, they generated more than 5.7 million jobs or more than 60% of local employment.

The businesses, after suspending operations throughout the stricter lockdown, are seeking funding assistance.

Applications for loans from the Small Business Corp. (SB Corp.), the financing arm of the Trade department, has reached double its current available funding.

Applications have already reached more than P2 billion, but initial funding is only at P1 billion while the department awaits government economic stimulus packages.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said that there is an ongoing nationwide buy-local campaign.

“This is really to renew the consumer confidence and kasama din dito ’yung kampanya natin na (this includes our campaign) Go Lokal at OTOP hub kung saan fine-feature natin ang mga product ng (where we feature the products of) micro SMEs. In promoting BUYanihan we are increasing and improving consumer confidence,” he said. — Jenina P. Ibañez