By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 1, 2013 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – More than P700 million for micro-entrepreneurs in poor communities, particularly monsoon- affected areas, is available as no-interest loans to enable them to restart their small businesses, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Under the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), the DSWD has a P1.2-billion fund for loans in the Self-Employment Assistance Kaunlaran (SEA-K) as seed capital for micro-entrepreneurs this year.

The SLP-SEA-K does not discriminate if a borrower is a beneficiary of other DSWD programs like the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps).

It was learned that 48,525 4Ps beneficiary-households have been given seed capital loans amounting to P388,726,674 from the SEA-K fund from January to July.

The DSWD said P57,341,250 was issued to SEA-K borrowers from non-4Ps households given in the same period. “Target participants of the program are poor families enlisted in the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), prioritizing Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries,” the DSWD said.

The DSWD said the SLP is a community-based capacity building program seeking to improve the program participants’ socio-economic status. Borrowers undergo social preparation and capacity-building workshops before deciding what livelihood to venture into, the DSWD added.

Under the SEA-K loan facility, a participant who decides to start a micro-enterprise may avail of a non-interest loan up to P10,000, payable within one to two years; and the amount will vary based on the nature and proposed budget of the micro-enterprise.

Families affected by Tropical Storm Maring and other types of disasters may access the SLP through the DSWD regional offices in coordination with the city/municipal social welfare and development offices, the DSWD said.