THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will be accepting new applications for its small business loan program after obtaining additional funding from state banks.

Its financing arm, the Small Business Corp. (SB Corp.), had received loan applications from under-pressure businesses that were worth more than triple its P1-billion initial funding.

SB Corp.’s COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program targets businesses affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

SB Corp. obtained an additional P1 billion from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez confirmed in a mobile message Thursday.

“We are just completing documentation from the SB Corp. side,” he said.

The new funding could be available starting next week.

The terms of the loan, Mr. Lopez said, are still being finalized. Loans offered under the CARES program are no-interest but feature a service fee.

Mr. Lopez did not discuss whether funding from the state banks would have the same terms.

The department may be able to borrow up to P3 billion more from state banks if needed, Mr. Lopez told a television reporter Wednesday.

“Hopefully before that happens, may masama tayo dito sa stimulus package na may bagong pondo na ‘yun mas mabilis na, hindi na kami hihiram sa LANDBANK, DBP — may pondo na for SB Corp. to use (I am hoping this program is funded by the stimulus, which will be released faster and not need to be borrowed from LANDBANK and DBP),” he said.

Mr. Lopez said that the department may tap for funds its P3 (Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso) portfolio, the economic stimulus package, and the 2021 budget.

Loan applications received by the CARES program now total 23,477 and are worth P3.38 billion.

Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises make up 99.5% of all establishments operating in the Philippines, based on 2018 data. The businesses employ 63% of all workers.

In June, a DTI survey found that a quarter of businesses remained permanently or temporarily shut despite easing lockdowns. — Jenina P. Ibañez