Soft loans, wages, among the requests of Mindanao businesses affected by the strong quakes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 8)— Some businesses in the earthquake-devastated areas of southern Mindanao are requesting financial and social aid as the local economy aims for a recovery.

"Businesses would request for a soft loan from banks that would let them be able to start again, and for the employees and workers of displaced companies to have an assistance from the Social Security System (SSS)," said Malou Quisumbing, Vice President for Mindanao of the Philippine Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

She said that PCCI officers in the quake affected areas have started helping families to relocate their homes and have allowed their employees to go back to their jobs so that they can start earning again.

Quisumbing added that, based on reports from fellow PCCI members, big grocery stores in Cotabato have continued to sell their goods within the price range dictated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

"There are no price increases. Replenishment of goods is also fast," Quisumbing said.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the government is continuing its efforts to help the economy of the region after it suffered two back-to-back quakes late in October.

He advised residents to approach the DTI for requests for livelihood assistance and complaints about stores that charge too much.

"Pwede silang pumunta kaagad for any negosyo or livelihood assistance that they may need. We can prepare a livelihood assistance kit para mabigyan sila ng pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan," Lopez said.

[Translation: They can come to us for any business or livelihood assistance that they may need. We can prepare a livelihood assistance kit so that they will be able to cover their daily needs.]

He said that these kits will be in kind, and not in cash. For example, the DTI can give food ingredients to carinderia owners or grocery items to sari-sari store owners.