PH Gov 4-Pillar Strategy

As the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) persists and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, several owners of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are struggling to keep their businesses afloat. With severely reduced business activity, many entrepreneurs are running out of cash to weather the storm brought about by the lockdown.

Recognizing the risks and challenges that the country’s MSMEs are facing, the Philippine government is implementing several measures to mitigate the effects of the ECQ. Many of these MSME-focused programs are included in the 4-pillar socioeconomic strategy against COVID-19, consolidating several initiatives that the Duterte Administration rolls out to help the country get back on its feet after the pandemic. 

Here, we summarize this 4-pillar strategy focusing on the benefits and financial aid that MSMEs will receive. Note that these are provisions from the strategy as of April 9, and the Department of Finance (DOF) has noted that the contents of the strategy may be updated in the future:

Pillar 1: Emergency support for vulnerable groups

The first pillar targets various individuals and groups of the population that are heavily impacted by the pandemic. It summarizes various financial aid and cash assistance programs across different government agencies worth an estimated total of Php305 billion

This pillar has the most extensive list of programs among the four that specifically target MSMEs. Among these programs are:

Pillar 2: Marshalling resources to fight COVID-19

The second pillar outlines all of the government’s provisions to aid the medical efforts against the pandemic. Most of these programs target the individuals who have contracted the disease, the frontliners who are helping contain the pandemic, and the organizations which have dedicated resources and facilities to support the medical efforts.

As this pillar focuses on the healthcare aspect of the pandemic, there are no programs here that specifically target MSMEs. However, the pillar does list various tax incentives and exemptions for businesses providing critical medical supplies, including the waiving of importation fees for certain categories of products.

Pillar 3: Fiscal and monetary actions to finance emergency initiatives and keep the economy afloat

The third pillar focuses on the government’s efforts to maintain the national economy amid the crisis, which has taken a hit from the reduced business activity both within the country and around the world. Most of the agencies involved in the programs under this pillar all have something to do with circulating government funds such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). 

For this pillar, there is one provision that applies to certain MSMEs: the extension of tax-compliance and loan payment deadlines that fall under the ECQ period. The government is allocating a budget of Php470 million for this specific program.

Pillar 4: An economic recovery plan to create jobs and sustain growth

The fourth and final pillar revolves around one specific program: a bounce-back plan designed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). The bounce-back plan will focus on revitalizing the national economy once the ECQ is lifted, and it will target several business sectors affected by the lockdown. 

The IATF has already begun laying the groundwork for this pillar by conducting a nationwide survey assessing the damages and challenges experienced by various businesses. The results of this survey will then be used to steer the direction of the bounce-back plan, with the IATF creating unique strategies for different sectors, most notably a targeted plan for MSMEs.

Rising Above the Lockdown

The 4-pillar strategy captures a bulk of the government’s efforts to help MSMEs rise above the lockdown. It highlights how even if entrepreneurs are facing numerous hardships brought about by the ECQ, there are still several avenues they can take to keep their business afloat and turn the challenges into opportunities.

To stay updated on government initiatives concerning MSMEs, join UNAWA’s Telegram Group. For more business tips on how to navigate the new normal, check out the other articles of UNAWA Explainer.


Prepare Re-Entry Plans and Remote Working Arrangements with this Free Webinar

Regtech startup UNAWA will be holding its third free webinar on Thursday, April 30, 5 PM–6 PM. Titled “Navigating the New Normal: Employee Welfare in a Remote Work Environment,” the webinar will tackle key issues that SMEs should consider as they prepare plans for resuming operations post-Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). A key concern here is how to prepare organizations for remote work, which is now quickly becoming the new reality for many businesses.

“UNAWA believes it is necessary to engage in this conversation of a ‘new normal’ not only as the general theme of our webinars but particularly as employers consider actual operations,” said Atty. Mona Dimalanta, CEO of UNAWA. “As many of our fellow businesses are still getting used to having most, if not their entire team, working from home, we hope this webinar helps them identify the questions they need to ask to know how extensively they can adopt and integrate remote working arrangements into their everyday operations.”

Highlighting Employee Concerns

UNAWA’s third webinar will also serve as its Labor Day Special, shifting the focus slightly from the industry level to the employee level. It will highlight topics that not only concern employees’ current working arrangements but also how these arrangements can be better implemented to promote employees’ welfare while helping the business move forward in the new normal. 

Starting off the panel discussion is Suzy Roxas, a life and career strategist specializing in Cognitive Therapy, Leadership, Trauma Recovery, and others. She will discuss what this “new normal” will mean for organizations and employees, and how leaders can help their teams cope with work from home arrangements, prevent burnout, and also manage any trauma arising from these abrupt and drastic shifts.

Meanwhile, Atty. Regina Jacinto-Barrientos, Managing Partner of leading local law firm and UNAWA’s partner, PJS Law, will share information about how the Philippine government is supporting employee welfare through updated labor guidelines, and will also offer insights on how companies can map out their “re-entry” strategies after the lifting of the ECQ.

Sharing best practices from their respective industries are Gabby Dizon, Founder and CEO of game developer Altitude Games, who will reveal how his team created an optimal remote working arrangement for their employees; and Emma Guevarra, People Director at TaskUs, who will talk about the company’s “frontline-first culture” and how this translates to our current environment.

“From our previous webinars, our panelists would usually bring up this reminder that businesses should start thinking about their re-entry strategies as early as now: if you wait for when the ECQ is lifted to prepare re-entry plans, that would be too late,” added Dimalanta. “This webinar will help entrepreneurs build their strategies and make sure that their businesses are ready to open on Day 1, post-ECQ.”

Simplifying the New Normal

“Employee Welfare in a Remote Work Environment” continues UNAWA’s series of webinars titled Navigating the New Normal, which focuses on different business verticals that have been affected by the ECQ. The preceding webinar talked about revenue-generating opportunities amid the lockdown, while succeeding webinars will spotlight various other topics to make sure all bases are covered.

Here is the tentative schedule of UNAWA’s webinars for the month of May:

Topic

Schedule

Lifeline for SMEs: COVID-19 Government Assistance

May 8, 5 PM

Data Privacy and Cybersecurity: Is Your Company Ready?

May 15, 5 PM

From Unemployment to Entrepreneurship (tentative)

May 22, 5 PM

Reimagining Travel, Hospitality & Leisure (Sector Focus, tentative)

May 29, 5 PM

To get more fresh updates and event registration links, follow the UNAWA Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/unawa.asia/.


Finding Revenue Amid ECQ

How does one keep cash flowing while businesses are shut in the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)? With operations severely reduced, micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) find it harder to generate revenue and keep their company afloat as each day of the ECQ passes.

UNAWA’s second free webinar focused on confronting these issues head-on by highlighting creative ways entrepreneurs can protect and strengthen their financial position. Titled “Navigating the New Normal: Revenue Generating Trends,” the webinar featured four entrepreneurs and industry experts who shared various tips and rich insights in keeping cash flowing during these challenging times.

We share here one revenue generation tip from each of our webinar panelists. Want to learn more? Please watch the replay below!

1. Reach out to your customers and understand their needs

For Bong Pacia, Independent Senior Business and Management Consultant and Indonesia Country Head for market intelligence firm Mintel, the pandemic will cause major shifts in how we do business, both on the side of entrepreneurs and customers. It is up to the business owners, then, to understand these shifts and make sure their business does not get left behind.

One way Pacia suggests to be on top of these shifts is to ask your customers directly. As consumer needs and behaviors change, it will be important for companies to keep up with these changes. The best way to find out how these changes are playing out is to engage with your customer base. 

“Before, they [would] come to you, and you [would] give them advice on [what to do],” said Pacia. “Now, it’s the other way around. You go to them and ask them, ‘Is there anything I can do to help you?’, ‘How can we customize something for you?’ That’s where you [build] your business on.”

Pacia added that these insights will not only help your business stay relevant while the lockdown persists, but it will also help your company get back on its feet quickly once the lockdown is over. He suggested that these insights should be used in forming your company’s strategy post-ECQ, as these changes in behavior will soon become the “new normal” for customer interaction.

2. Be diligent with your research

Related to the first tip, Rommel Ng, co-owner of restaurant chain Buffalo’s Wings N’ Things and founder of online informational platform The Resto Coach, reminded his fellow entrepreneurs about the importance of doing diligent research. Ng related it to Pacia’s advice by saying that entrepreneurs would have an advantage when they are actively gaining insights during the ECQ.

“One thing that you gain from operating now versus waiting for the ECQ to end is you gain a lot of insights from actual customer interaction,” said Ng. “The product mix is the most dependable [piece of] data because it is the one that customers actually spend money on.”

Ng expands on this tip by saying that there are many more potential sources of customer insights that can be used to improve your business. With the wealth of information available online, entrepreneurs can use these pieces of data to refine and strengthen their strategies during and after the lockdown.

“Information and data are now being shared openly. Take advantage of that,” advised Ng. “You cannot afford to waste money now in [external] R&D. You just have to be diligent enough to do the research [on your own].”

3. Build trust within your network and uphold your company’s values

As the ECQ began, Anya Lim immediately worked on shifting the products she was selling in her social enterprise, ANTHILL Fabric Gallery. As the fashion house mainly focused on clothes, accessories, and other lifestyle products made by local artisans, Lim and her weavers started creating and selling essential goods such as face masks.

“A lot of fashion brands and designer entrepreneurs have shifted to essential goods, which currently are reusable masks and PPE (personal protective equipment) production,” shared Lim. “I think the masks are going to be a staple in our wardrobe, [probably] for the next three years.”

However, this shift in production is not the only way Lim is boosting sales within her company. One of her store’s most popular products in recent weeks has been the ANTHILL Bayanihan Bucket, which contains a “self-care kit” with teas and an air freshener that were packaged in one of ANTHILL’s weaved bags. While the bag alone would have been considered a non-essential good, bundling it with more essential items allowed ANTHILL to drive sales to their own products.

“The power of bundling right now is very effective. If you’re (selling) a non-essential good like we are, [you can] pair up your product with an essential good, which can potentially work,” said Lim. “With the bucket that we did, [the contents] made the consumers feel that they will benefit from that, and the bucket was just [a value-added component].”

4. Collaborate with less-affected businesses

The contents of ANTHILL’s bags were provided by partner small businesses, which Lim saw as an opportunity to both promote different entrepreneurs while generating revenue for her company. For fellow social entrepreneur Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, president of eco-ethical fashion brand Rags2Riches and CFO of UNAWA, this method can prove to be an effective strategy for businesses, especially those who are heavily impacted by the lockdown.

“An exercise that I’ve done with my team is to look at the industries that will not be as affected by this pandemic,” shared Fernandez-Ruiz. “If there is a relation with your industry, look at how you can collaborate with them.”

Implementing this strategy will allow your business to not only find a new vertical to generate revenue, but also to expand its scope and introduce your business to new audiences. As Fernandez-Ruiz and the rest of the panelists highlighted, this is a good way of future-proofing your company beyond the ECQ, as it can open up various opportunities for the business. What is important, however, is that entrepreneurs should act and find these opportunities now.

“Whatever you do now will define whatever you’ll be in the future,” said Fernandez-Ruiz. “In the future, you will not just survive but thrive and be different.”


We hope this article was helpful. To get more information, insight, and inspiration,check out the other articles in UNAWA Explainer for more tips on how your business can navigate the new normal.


Identify Revenue Opportunities Amid the ECQ with this Free Webinar

Taking off from the introductory webinar discussion last Friday, UNAWA’s second webinar offering will focus on what could be the threshold challenge for entrepreneurs during this period of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ): how to keep cash flowing into business while most economic activity is at a halt. On Friday, April 24, 5PM-6PM, UNAWA and guest panelists for this free webinar, “Navigating the New Normal: Revenue Generating Trends,” will focus on guiding MSME owners in keeping their company’s financials afloat during lockdown and providing tips on finding new ways to generate revenue as we transition out of ECQ. Interested participants can register through https://bit.ly/Unawa_SecondWebinar.

“Being entrepreneurs ourselves, our team at UNAWA understands the importance of knowing how cash goes in and out of your business,” said Atty. Mona Dimalanta, CEO of UNAWA. “As such, we felt it necessary to dedicate a webinar that focused specifically on financial matters at the time of COVID-19, such as finding new revenue generation opportunities and managing cash flow.”

Finding Opportunities in the Crisis

While MSMEs will have differing business models and operating contests, all entrepreneurs with limited resources have a common goal in these times: have enough cash to survive until the lockdown ends. As such, the panelists for this webinar will share their own experiences on how they have managed to find new revenue verticals in their respective businesses.

Returning as panelists from UNAWA’s introductory webinar, “Unlocking the Lockdown: Startup and SME Challenges Amid the Pandemic,” are Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, President of social enterprise Rags2Riches, CFO of UNAWA, and CFO of enterprise venture builder Talino Venture Labs, who will be discussing basic cash flow principles and how they relate to revenue generation; and Rommel Ng, founder of informational platform The Resto Coach and co-owner of restaurant chain Buffalo’s Wings N’ Things, who will share how restaurants and other businesses in the food industry are finding new revenue opportunities amid the ECQ. 

Completing this webinar’s panel are Bong Pacia, Independent Senior Business and Management Consultant and Indonesia Country Head of market intelligence firm Mintel, who will be discussing revenue-generating trends amid the lockdown across various industries; and Anya Lim, co-founder of social enterprise and fashion e-commerce platform ANTHILL Fabric Gallery, who will discuss how players in the fashion industry have found alternative ways to boost sales while demand for lifestyle products is low.

Helping MSMEs through the New Normal

This Friday’s “Revenue Generating Trends” will kickstart UNAWA’s series of free webinars called Navigating the New Normal, referring to how the COVID-19 pandemic is redefining the way we work, communicate, and live. 

“We all know that MSMEs comprise over 99% of the Philippine economy, and it is one of the sectors directly and adversely affected by the lockdown. We know this from our experience in UNAWA and we aim to help our fellow startups and SMEs by tackling relevant concerns that entrepreneurs have amid the crisis,” explained Dimalanta. “From designing new work arrangements to strategically availing of the different forms of government assistance for SMEs, we hope business owners learn something new from each of our webinars that will help them find their way in this new normal.”

For business owners who are looking to learn about more topics beyond cash flow management, UNAWA has also revealed its tentative lineup for May:

Topic

Schedule

Employee Welfare and Remote Work Management

May 1, 5 PM

Lifeline for SMEs: COVID-19 Government Assistance

May 8, 5 PM

Data Privacy and Cybersecurity

May 15, 5PM

From Unemployment to Entrepreneurship (tentative)

May 22, 5PM

Reimagining Travel, Hospitality & Leisure (Sector Focus, tentative)

May 29, 5PM

To get more fresh updates and event registration links, follow the UNAWA Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/unawa.asia/.


Turn the Lockdown Around

UNAWA recently concluded its first free webinar geared towards helping entrepreneurs navigate the new normal brought about by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Called “Unlocking the Lockdown: Startup and SME Opportunities Amid the Pandemic,” the webinar saw three entrepreneurs from different industries share their experiences, insights, and advice on dealing with the effects of the lockdown from their unique perspectives. UNAWA’s resident legal and business experts also weighed in to add more enriching information to the discussion.

The panel raised several helpful insights that entrepreneurs can apply to their own businesses. Here, we highlight three that stood out:

1. Pivot your business to seize relevant opportunities

When Darwin Mariano founded Ticket2Me in 2017, it functioned mainly as a ticketing platform for concerts, conventions, and other large events. However, Mariano revealed that, even as early as then, some small groups were already using Ticket2Me to raise funds, whether it was a family affair or an alumni association hosting a charity event.

When the pandemic hit, this enabled Mariano and his team to quickly shift Ticket2Me into a crowdfunding platform, turning the tickets sold into donations for requirements of medical personnel. It has paid off for the company, as across the various major campaigns that the website currently hosts, Ticket2Me has processed over Php18 million in donations so far. Among its most successful campaigns was a donation drive for COVID-19 frontliners organized in cooperation with the Office of the Vice President of the Philippines. 

For Mariano, being able to pivot immediately from an events management platform to a crowdfunding and donation drive aggregator was only possible because their team was willing to make a massive shift from the platform’s original idea. He advised fellow entrepreneurs to try to find similar opportunities within their business model; a massive pivot, while daunting, can be just what your business needs to stay relevant amid the crisis.

“If we were too in love with our original business idea, I doubt we would have pivoted as quickly,” said Mariano. “You have to be able to step back, assess the situation, and think of how your business can serve in some other way.”

2. Don’t wait for the ECQ to end before making your move

As the ECQ progressed from days to weeks, you might have noticed some of your favorite restaurant chains populating social media with posts on how to transact with them while on lockdown. While some restaurants are focusing on making their menu available through delivery or take-out, others have resorted to selling their raw materials and ready-to-cook items so that their customers can enjoy their meals in the safety of their own homes.

According to Rommel Ng, co-owner of restaurant chain Buffalo’s Wings N’ Things, these are only a few of the strategies restaurateurs are applying to make sure cash keeps flowing into their businesses. With the lockdown forcing restaurants to temporarily close all of their physical branches, Ng recommends that his fellow restaurant owners find creative ways to deal with the financial impact of the ECQ.

“As a leader, you have to think of the future,” said Ng. “You have to think of business continuity.”

He further expands on this point by sharing an insight he himself has given to his followers in The Resto Coach, an online informational platform for restaurateurs. As business owners themselves, restaurateurs need to act during the ECQ so that their businesses do not play catch-up after the crisis is over. Whether it is about finding revenue opportunities or making a pivot, restaurateurs should not wait until after  the lockdown to take the next steps.

“Whatever is available at your disposal that the customers need, you have to adjust and pivot right now. Hindi ka pwedeng huminto (You cannot pause),” said Ng. “When the recovery stage comes in, you will realize [that] you have equipped yourself because hindi ka huminto nung ECQ (you did not pause during the ECQ).”

3. Build trust within your network and uphold your company’s values

It is no secret that the current lockdown has brought with it a huge amount of pressure for everyone, most especially business owners. Many of them have to face critical decisions regarding their companies that will undoubtedly affect the lives of their customers and their employees. 

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, president of social enterprise Rags2Riches, urged her fellow business owners in the webinar that one of the most important things entrepreneurs should do during these trying times is to build trust. While cash flow and reserves are very tight for most businesses, she reminded entrepreneurs that the number one priority they should have is helping other people, whether it is their own employees, their partners, or even their customers.

“When you prioritize your cash allocations, always [put] people first,” said Fernandez-Ruiz. “Our team knows na mauuna pa ‘kong mawalan ng sweldo (I will be the first to have my salary cut) than everybody else. When your people understand that, then trust is being built.”

This is part of Fernandez-Ruiz’s point of upholding your company’s values during times of crisis. With everyone feeling the brunt of the impact of the lockdown, employers should make sure to show their employees that they are here for them, and that they will do everything they can to see this through with no one being left behind.

“It’s very important to show your values right now, not just to your employees but also to your customers,” said Fernandez-Ruiz. “Madali (It’s easy) to live our values if times are easy, but living your values during the crisis is actually where values are most critical.”

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures—and extraordinary doses of creativity and inspiration. While the audience asked so many more questions that the webinar could not cover, UNAWA hopes that this is only the beginning of deeper, more honest conversations and tighter collaboration between and among sectors. To learn more about UNAWA’s weekly webinar series entitled “Navigating the New Normal”, like or follow the UNAWA Facebook page.


We hope this article was helpful. If you have any further questions, click here to chat with UNA, and check out the other articles of UNAWA Explainer for more tips on how your business can navigate the new normal.


COVID-19 MSME Incentives

While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our day-to-day lives, one of the most impacted sectors includes micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). With a substantial part of the country on enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), majority of MSMEs will have most, if not all, of their businesses halted, leaving them to depend on their savings and emergency funds. But even those run the risk of drying up before the lockdown ends.

Fortunately, the Philippine government is rolling out several funds, projects, and incentives that are specifically designed to help MSMEs weather the storm of the lockdown. These range from financial aid programs specifically budgeted from the government’s disaster response fund to directives from different government agencies that enable the community to soften the impact of the pandemic to the MSMEs.

This article will focus on three examples of the latter: first, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI’s) rules on residential and commercial rents during the ECQ; second, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP’s) relaxed rules on bank loans; and third, the waived fees on importations applied by various agencies.

Concession on Rents

Even if their physical stores are closed, most entrepreneurs are still using a building, office space, and/or land that they are renting from a lessor. This means that many SMEs will have to pay their rental fees for the months of ECQ out of their savings or emergency funds, as they won’t have the cash flow from normal operations to cover this expense.

This is what the DTI hopes to alleviate with Memorandum Circular 2020-12, titled “Guidelines on the Concessions of Residential Rents; Commercial Rents for MSMEs.” This law requires lessors and landlords of MSMEs to impose a grace period of at least 30 days for any rents that are due within the ECQ period, giving business owners more time to settle their payments while cash flow is severely reduced. 

These rents fall under two categories. Residential rents refer to any rental payments made for units such as bedspaces, rooms, dormitories, apartments, houses, and buildings, as long as it is primarily used for housing and residential purposes. Commercial rents refer to any rental payments made for spaces such as shops, facilities, offices, buildings, and land that is used for business and commercial activity.

This 30-day grace period will cover the 30 calendar days after the due date of the rent, provided that the due date falls within the duration of the ECQ. (For example: If a lessee’s due date is on April 15, 2020, the payment will not be due until May 14, 2020.) 

Aside from the grace period, the DTI also recommends lessors to apply other considerations that can help MSMEs weather the challenges faced amid the pandemic. These efforts can include: renegotiating the payment terms with the tenant, relaxing the rental fee requirements for payments immediately after the ECQ, and even waiving the rental fees during the ECQ entirely.

Relaxed Requirements for Bank Loans and Funds

The concession on rents was one of the provisions implemented as a result of Republic Act 11469, or more popularly known as the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. Signed into law on March 25, 2020, this act details all of the measures that the government will take to minimize the impact of the pandemic for the entire country.

One other provision included in the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act that proves to be beneficial to MSMEs is the relaxed requirements on loans from BSP-supervised financial institutions that have payments due within the ECQ period. The law states that just like residential and commercial rents, any loan that is due to be settled during the ECQ will be granted a 30-day grace period.

This means that if an entrepreneur took out a business loan prior to the ECQ and has a principal or interest that is due within the ECQ period, the entrepreneur may settle the payment within 30 days after the due date without applying any additional interest, fees, or charges. This applies to any loan availed from a bank or financial institution regulated by the BSP. 

Moreover, the BSP has also relaxed the requirements needed to access their funds within a bank. Specifically, the bank will no longer require the entrepreneur to present a valid ID for the transaction, as long as they provide any proof on why they do not have an ID. Transactions falling under these relaxed requirements cannot exceed Php50,000 per day.

For more information on these relaxed requirements on loans and funds, check out the Implementing Rules and Regulations of this specific provision within the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Waiving of Importation Fees

Another industry heavily impacted by the global pandemic is manufacturing. The distribution and movement of products around the world have severely slowed down due to the closure of businesses and various lockdowns around the world, which in turn are negatively impacting our ability to meet daily healthcare needs. 

However, for businesses that provide and import various products that address these shortages, the Department of Finance (DOF) and the DTI have released Joint Memorandum Circular 2020-02, which lists certain products whose importation fees have been waived for the duration of the ECQ. Among the fees waived are import duties, taxes, and fees, as well as the attached fees imposed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other related agencies.

A complete list can be found in the joint circular linked above, but among the most notable types of products that fall under this importation fee exemption are:

  • Medicine and medical supplies
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) 
  • Medical, surgical, laboratory and other types of relevant healthcare equipment
  • Raw materials needed to maintain and support the above products

However, not every MSME that imports these products will be able to avail themselves of the waived fees. For the most part, the DOF and the DTI are limiting these exceptions to the businesses that are integral to maintaining the supply chain of these products. 

If your business falls under that limitation, you will need to do the following to avail of the waived fees:

  • Apply for an accreditation certificate from the Board of Investments (BOI)
  • Apply for a Tax Exemption Indorsement with the DOF
  • File a provisional Import Entry Declaration with the BOC

Keeping MSMEs Afloat

The COVID-19 pandemic will be a difficult time for MSMEs, and it’s guaranteed that only a few businesses will come out of the ECQ unscathed. As such, regulations like the concession of rental payments, the waiving of importation fees, are the government’s way of lending business owners a hand as the latter figure out their financial plan in these trying times.

These two regulations are only some of the various programs that the Philippine government has rolled out to meet the needs of MSME owners. Many officials and agencies have committed to implementing more policies in the future, as the country adjusts to the new realities brought about by the pandemic. 

In the meantime, we at UNAWA will continue to provide resources for business owners who need guidance in these trying times. Join our Telegram Group to connect with other entrepreneurs and to get relevant updates on opportunities that MSMEs can grab while the country continues to deal with the pandemic.


Free Webinar Helps SME Owners Navigate COVID-19 Challenges

Regtech startup UNAWA will integrate legal and business expertise to help SMEs identify ways to move forward beyond the lockdown

To help entrepreneurs and startup founders cope with uncertainties stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, rising regulatory technology startup UNAWA will host a free webinar on Friday, April 17, 5 PM to 6 PM. Called, “Unlocking the Lockdown: Startup and SME Challenges and Opportunities Amid the Pandemic”, it will feature a panel of industry experts and business leaders who will talk about different measures that businesses can take during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

To help entrepreneurs and startup founders cope with uncertainties stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, rising regulatory technology startup UNAWA will host a free webinar on Friday, April 17, 5 PM to 6 PM. Called, “Unlocking the Lockdown: Startup and SME Challenges and Opportunities Amid the Pandemic”, it will feature a panel of industry experts and business leaders who will talk about different measures that businesses can take during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Almost a month has passed since the Philippine government implemented the ECQ across Luzon and many parts of the Philippines, halting many business operations and putting severe stress over small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around the country. However, the effects of the pandemic could last for much longer than the ECQ itself, leaving SME owners with many hard decisions to keep their companies afloat.

“We have seen the importance of a community helping each other out in times of crises, and UNAWA is dedicated to helping its fellow startups and SMEs emerge from the pandemic successfully. This free webinar is part of our efforts to create a community of entrepreneurs that support each other and remind each other that they are not alone in facing these problems,” said Atty. Mona Dimalanta, CEO of UNAWA.

Insights from legal experts and seasoned entrepreneurs

To ensure rich insights from various perspectives, UNAWA has put together an interactive panel that will exchange expert ideas while entertaining questions from the audience.

Panelists include: Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, president of eco-ethical fashion house Rags2Riches and founder of e-commerce platform Things That Matter PH; Darwin Mariano, founder of ticketing platform and crowdfunding project facilitator Ticket2Me; and Rommel Ng, founder of informational platform The Resto Coach and co-owner of restaurant chain Buffalo’s Wings N’ Things. 

Rounding out the panel are Atty. Regina Jacinto-Barrientos, CEO of Puyat, Jacinto, and Santos (PJS) Law; and Atty. Mona Dimalanta, CEO of UNAWA. The two will offer legal insights on how businesses can stay afloat while a significant part of the country is in lockdown.

“We at PJS Law are committed to helping SMEs with any of their legal concerns in these trying times,” said PJS Law’s Atty. Regina Jacinto-Barrientos. “Entrepreneurs have a lot on their plate in their efforts to sustain their business, so we are working with UNAWA to reach startup and SME communities and provide relevant legal and regulatory solutions.”

Interested participants can register for the webinar by filling out the form at https://bit.ly/Unawa-Webinar. Registrations will be open until Thursday, April 16, 5 PM.