MORE THAN 39,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) of the country are now receiving financial services from the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), Inc. (A Microfinance NGO) in support to the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
In 2017, CARD, Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding with DTI to become the government’s partner in strengthening the access of community members to the P3 program.
“This collaboration is part of CARD’s commitment of ensuring the growth of MSMEs to eventually build a poverty-free country. Poverty is a complex issue, hence, working with like-minded organizations and the government is a significant factor in the process,” said Flordeliza L. Sarmiento, managing director of CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) where CARD, Inc. is a member institution.
CARD’s P3 initiative
For this program, Sarmiento emphasized that CARD is not receiving any financial support from the government. “We will be using our own funds for this program. In terms of policies, it will be aligned with the guidelines of the program accordingly,” she added.
The program prioritizes to reach the market vendors and agri-businessmen in the 20 provinces under the government’s P3 program namely, Sorsogon, Zamboanga Sibugay, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Catanduanes, North Cotabato, Western, Eastern, and Northern Samar, Mountain Province, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Siquijor, Zamboanga del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Bukidnon, Maguindanao, Sarangani, and Sulu.
“These microentrepreneurs can avail a loan up to PHP100,000 maximum with an affordable interest rate,” said Jocelyn D. Dequito, executive director of CARD, Inc.
The loan is payable in 12 months maximum on either a daily or weekly basis. “The program is consistent with our regular microfinance services. The terms are also flexible,” added Dequito.
Potential clients may avail the loan and can be processed within 24 hours, following the guidelines of CARD. This, according to Dequito, is their way of fighting against usurious lenders who are very quick in providing loans to people. “We have streamlined our processes to be become relevant and respond immediately to the changing needs of our clients,” added Dequito.
On September 3-4, 2018, Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, the founder and chairman emeritus of CARD MRI, visited the P3 beneficiaries of CARD in Tagum City and Koronadal City, respectively.
CARD MRI, according to Dr. Alip, is in the business of poverty eradication. “Providing families with financial access is the first step towards poverty eradication. And we are happy to see our clients who are doing well in their respective businesses,” added Dr. Alip.
Edlyn Soronez, P3 beneficiary from Tagum City, said the program helped her grow her flower shop business. “I am thankful to become one of the beneficiaries of the program. I can now buy enough stocks for my growing clients,” shared Soronez.
Moreover, Nelly Pabillon said that she is thankful to CARD for granting her PHP28,000 loan for her vegetable trading in Koronadal City public market.
Dr. Alip also emphasized that these microentrepreneurs will be able to dictate the own course of their lives when and only given the access to asset ownership. “It is our hope that through our microfinance programs and this P3 initiative of the government, more families will have the capacity to own assets, invests in businesses, and saves for the future,” said Dr. Alip.
CARD also guaranteed that this P3 initiative will continue to be reinforced. “Even if the agreement is only with CARD, Inc., we have also encouraged our three banking institutions to entertain potential clients for the P3 program,” assured Dr. Alip.
As of July 2018, CARD, Inc. has already disbursed a total of PHP450.9 million loans to 39,384 clients.
CARD MRI is a group of 21 institutions that aims to eradicate poverty in the country. It has three banking institutions, the CARD Bank, CARD SME Bank, and Rizal Bank, Inc., which are operational in some of the concentrated areas covered by CARD, Inc.
“We are one with the government in fighting poverty in the country. Moving out from the claws of poverty can only be made when the entire private and public sectors and the community itself work together as one,” concluded Dr. Alip.