THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said about 2,000 loan applications were approved for micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) last year out of a P10-billion allocation under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II), underperforming a target to process 15,000 applications before the end of 2020.

“Now, we have about P10 billion [budget] as mentioned, so we target about more than 50,000 borrowers in the Bayanihan II. Kakaumpisa lang nito kaya andiyan pa lang ang na-approve na dito over 2,000 borrowers (It’s just started so approvals are at over 2,000),” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said at the “SMe Bayani: Beating the Odds” webinar on Saturday, organized by technology firm e-Methods for Business Management Corp.

Under Bayanihan II or Republic Act No. 11494, the DTI’s Small Business Corp. (SB Corp.) was allocated P10 billion to lend to MSMEs.

Prior to the implementation of Bayanihan II, the agency had P1 billion for the first batch of loan beneficiaries. “Nakapagpahiram tayo sa over 17,000 borrowers (We were able to lend to 17,000 borrowers),” Mr. Lopez said.

In November, Mr. Lopez said SB Corp. will increase its processing capacity to around 15,000 a month, citing improvements in its credit evaluation system.

“We have facilitated the processing to accommodate more MSMEs affected by the pandemic. We expect to release more loans to help businesses recover, especially as we gradually reopen the economy,” he said in a statement.

In September, SB Corp. said it targeted 50,000 loan approvals over the rest of the year, or a monthly rate of 15,000 to 18,000 borrowers starting in October. — Arjay L. Balinbin