Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia announced on Thursday the provincial government is allotting PHP105 million to provide financial assistance to distressed micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.
She said a PHP15-million budget will be allocated for the office of Vice Governor Hilario Davide III and PHP5 million will be given each to the 18 provincial board members for this purpose.
“I ask our provincial board members and Vice Governor Davide to help me reach out to our affected MSMEs. I hope this (budget) will be put to good use,” the governor said in her speech during the 451st founding anniversary of Cebu province.
She said the provincial government is now coming up with mechanics on how to implement this program, which should align with that of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
DTI has a livelihood seeding program called the Pangkabuhayan sa pagBangon at Ginhawa (PBG) which gives MSMEs with kits for them to restart their enterprises.
The provincial government is now putting its efforts into reviving the Cebu economy as it moves to restore the lost jobs and businesses caused by the months-long lockdown.
“We’re now focusing our energies on the revival of our MSMEs,” she said.
While she claimed that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be a threat, there is a need to recover the dwindling economic activity as many suffer from unemployment and income loss.
“Businesses were closed. Jobs were lost,” Garcia said as she expressed the urgency to make a “tough balancing act” to restore the Cebu economy.
“We need to rise up again,” she said in Cebuano.
Earlier, several tourist towns in the southern part of Cebu have resumed their usual tourism activities, signaling the start of the recovery of the struggling industry.
Even as Cebu gradually reopens from strict quarantine measures, Garcia stressed that stringent health and safety protocols will continue to be implemented. (PNA)