A multi-sectoral group composed of the Association of the Filipino Franchisers Inc. (AFFI), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Go Negosyo, SM Foundation, Security Bank, and Union Bank launched a campaign that encourages the public to buy local to support small businesses.
“Buyanihan” for buy and the local idiom bayanihan aims to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which were hit hardest due to the closure of malls and retail establishments; these include micro enterprises like barbershops and salons, massage parlors and spas, and the neighborhood street peddlers.
Most MSMEs are located at the National Capital Region, Region IVA (CALABARZON), and Region III (Central Luzon) – regions in the main island from which 73 percent of the country’s GDP comes from and where the lockdown was rigorously enforced.
MSMEs rely on cash flow for daily operations: salaries to be paid, employee benefits to be fulfilled, rent, loans, supplier accountabilities, and credit card bills are still due. Although the quarantine levels have now lightened, they have yet to recover the losses during the enhanced community quarantine when they have had zero cash flow.
More than any entity aware of the impact of the pandemic on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is the SM Group, the Philippines’ largest mall operator and consequently it’s biggest retail space lessor.
Its SM Foundation has been generous in providing funds, medical supplies, and protective equipment. Its SM Supermalls have waived rentals from March 16 to April 14. That benefitted 19,153 SM mall tenants nationwide whose doors are reopening for business.
Security Bank meanwhile eased its process for facilitating business loans for MSMEs in need of liquidity and lowered percentage in its Ecommerce payment gateway. Union Bank eased up account openings by shifting it online and providing checking accounts with affordable depository requirements, enabling MSMEs to further legitimize their businesses.