CARD releases P451M micro-loans in 20 provinces

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DAVAO CITY — The Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Inc. (CARD) has released about P450.9 million in loans to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) since July 2017 as part of its agreement with the government for the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso (P3) program.

CARD, a part of the CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (MRI), said in a statement that 39,300 MSMEs in 20 provinces have availed of the financing windows.

The 20 priority provinces under the P3 program, which is under the Department of Trade and Industry, are: Sorsogon, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Catanduanes, Western Samar, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Mountain Province, Siquijor, Zamboanga Sibugay, North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Bukidnon, Maguindanao, Sarangani, and Sulu.

CARD Executive Director Jocelyn D. Dequito said the MSMES “can avail of loan up to P100,000 with an affordable interest rate” of up to 2.5% month, adjusted based on diminishing balance.

Payment terms are either on a daily or weekly basis over a period of one year.

CARD said of the total loans issued, P61.6 million has yet to be paid.

“The program is consistent with our regular microfinance services. The terms are also flexible,” said Ms. Dequito.

Under the P3 program, intended to give MSMEs an alternative to informal lending schemes with high interest rates, the loan application can be processed within 24 hours

“We have streamlined our processes to be become relevant and respond immediately to the changing needs of our clients,” said Ms. Dequito.

Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, CARD MRI founder and chair emeritus, said the program is part of their campaign to help alleviate poverty, especially in the rural areas.

“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,” said Mr. Alip.

He added that assisting MSMES empowers them to chart their growth.

“It is our hope that through our microfinance programs and this initiative of the government, more families will have the capacity to own assets, invest in businesses, and save for the future,” he added. — Carmelito Q. Francisco