Micro entrepreneurs throughout the country will get more aid to fund their businesses as the National Government, through the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.), the micro-financing arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), will set aside P1 billion for year 2018 to continue the flagship program that will provide micro enterprises an alternative source of financing that is easy to access and made available at a reasonable cost.
“The President has vowed to provide affordable micro-loans for micro entrepreneurs and we are here to deliver this promise through the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3),” DTI-Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said.
The Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program is a P1 billion financing program intended to give MSMEs better access to finance and to reduce their cost of borrowing and battle loan sharks preying on micro entrepreneurs. The fund will also give priority to the country’s 30 poorest provinces.
Initially, the P3 Program was launched in Tacloban in Leyte on January 25, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro on January 27, and Alabel, Sarangani last January 30 and was launched nationwide in April, with an initial funding of P850.0 million, making available lower cost loans to Filipino micro entrepreneurs who are engaged in small business such as sari-sari stores and are vulnerable to usurious lenders in the absence of an alternative source.
Maglaya explained that through the P3, micro entrepreneurs can find relief from overly expensive borrowings and afford cost-efficient and affordable form of loan to add and expand their businesses.
“Through the P3, sectors can find relief from overly expensive borrowings as they pursue their livelihood activities,” Maglaya said.
As of November 24, 2017, a total of 16,210 micro entrepreneurs have been aided by P3 with four national micro finance institutions (MFIs) and 90 local conduits assisting in delivering the micro-loans in the countryside while 45 MFIs are in the pipeline. A total of P485.41 million has been released to partner conduits and P307.80 million released to microfinance borrowers.
Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to replace the “5-6” money lending system, the P3 is also seen to help stabilize supply and cost of commodities in public markets, encourage small entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, and offer employment and generate income for Filipinos.
The P1 billion fund of the P3 program from the Office of the President will be coursed through the SB Corp., which will accredit partner institutions such as non-bank MFIs, cooperatives and associations to serve as conduit for the P3 funds. With borrowers identified through these, collection of repayments will be efficient.
“We’re very grateful that this program has come into fruition, so we can help micro entrepreneurs who are at the bottom of the pyramid and create an entrepreneurial environment in the countryside that will also generate jobs for Filipinos,” Maglaya said.
The primary beneficiaries of the P3 Program are microenterprises and entrepreneurs that do not have easy access to credit. These include market vendors, agri-businessmen and members of cooperatives, and industry associations.
P3 will also make it easy for borrowers since it will only require minimal documentation requirement; easy to access with only one (1) day processing of application; low cost interest at 2.5% per month; and easy payment with collection on a weekly or daily basis, as necessary.
Under the P3 Program, a micro enterprise can borrow between P5,000 up to P100,000 depending on its business need and repayment capacity with no collateral requirement. Interest rate and service fees, all in, do not exceed 2.5% monthly, which is a huge relief from the 20% monthly rate under the 5-6 loan system.♦