Politics

GUIDE bill wins third-reading approval from House

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THE House of Representatives, sitting in plenary session, passed on third reading the GUIDE bill, which would require government financial institutions to aid small businesses and others deemed “strategic” as a form of pandemic relief.

The chamber approved the bill with a vote of 282 legislators, with no votes against and no abstentions.

The proposed Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) Act seeks to require the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) to lend to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and those classified as strategically important companies (SICs).

The bill prescribes a pathway for LANDBANK and the DBP for aiding distressed SICs. It authorizes the establishment of a joint venture special holding company to carry out the rehabilitation.

Eligibility criteria for MSMEs are as follows: micro enterprises with assets not exceeding P3 million, small enterprises with assets not exceeding P15 million, and medium enterprises not exceeding P100 million.

The rehabilitation fund will be seeded with P10 billion from the Treasury, with P7.5 billion to be allocated to LANDBANK and P2.5 billion to the DBP.

The bill was passed by on third reading by the 18th Congress, but the Senate failed to pass a counterpart bill. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz