THE Cebu Provincial Government will start accepting applications for its “Sugbo Negosyo” program on Oct. 1, 2020.

The program aims to assist owners of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that were badly hurt by the Covid-19 crisis.

The program was launched on Wednesday, Sept. 30, during a meeting with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and other concerned agencies.

During the launching, Garcia told the agencies about the need to reactivate the local economy after it underwent many challenges due to quarantine protocol being implemented nationwide.

Garcia said: “We can no longer afford that the economy continues to be comatosed because of Covid-19. We fear more will die from hunger than from Covid-19 because of the restrictions placed on our local entrepreneurs. That is why aside from reopening our tourism industry, we are also opening this program to our constituents in the Province of Cebu so that they can regain the dignity of helping themselves by encouraging entrepreneurship throughout the entire Province.”

The Sugbo Negosyo program will be funded through the P100 million allocated by the Province to the offices of Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III and to the 17 members of the Provincial Board.

Constituents aged 18 and above and living in Cebu’s seven districts are qualified to avail themselves of the grant.

There are three categories to the program: The “Negosyong Padayon” or Category A which grants a P50,000 capital; the “Produktong Sugbuanon” or Category B which grants a P20,000 capital; and the “Serbisyo ug Ginagmayng Patigayon” or Category C which provides a P10,000 capital.

“Negosyong Padayon” is directed at helping or enhancing affected MSMEs heavily affected by the pandemic; “Produktong Sugbuanon” is for both new and existing MSMEs engaged in manufacturing and processing; while “Serbisyo ug Ginagmayng Patigayon” is for new or existing MSMEs that engage in trading or other services.

To ensure that the grant is spent as intended, the Province will only grant beneficiaries coupons, which they can use to exchange for goods.

The Province also reminded interested beneficiaries that they are required to sell locally produced products.

To assist the program’s beneficiaries, the DTI and MCCI have committed to provide training, seminars and workshops on how they can further improve their business.

The DTI has also committed to assist the beneficiaries by helping them process their business registration, barangay micro-business enterprise registration and securing other important documents such as mayor’s permit from their local government unit.

Aside from MSMEs, the program will also prioritize those under low income groups, displaced workers currently registered under the Province’s Social Welfare Development Office and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who have yet to return to work because of the pandemic.

Interested applicants can download the application forms from the Capitol’s official website. (ANV / JKV)