MORE than 10,000 microentrepreneur leaders, mostly women, gathered yesterday at the Senate grounds to make a unified appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte and Senators to save the R.A. 10693 or the Microfinance NGOs Act from being repealed.
These micro entrepreneurs are the program members of different microfinance non-government organizations under the largest microfinance networks in the country including APPEND, Inc. (Alliance of Philippine Partners in Enterprise Development) and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI). They came from Nueva Ecija, Bacolod, Laguna, Antipolo, Cavite and all cities and towns in the National Capital Region to join forces in voicing out the adverse impacts to the microenterprise sector of House Bill 304 (PIFITA Bill) which is pushing for the repeal of Section 20 of RA 10693 among other Republic Acts, Executive Orders, and Presidential Decrees as part of the government’s comprehensive tax reform program.
Passed into law on 3 November 2015, RA 10693: An Act Strengthening Non-government Organizations (NGOs) Engaged in Microfinance Operations for the Poor, was considered a landmark legislation that is in line with the Government’s policy “to pursue a program of poverty eradication wherein poor Filipino families shall be encouraged to undertake entrepreneurial activities to meet their minimum basic needs including income security.
The number of microentrepreneurs gathered at Diokno Boulevard represent the 6.5 million microfinance members being served by the NGOs operating nationwide and who are part of APPEND, Inc. and MCPI.
They demonstrate that the microenterprise sector is one of the most important vehicles through which low-income people can escape poverty. Individuals who are unable to compete for formal sector job due to limited skills or education find economic opportunities in microenterprise as business owners and employees.
linkages; educational assistance; health and social projects; financial literacy training; kasalangbayan, micro-insurance; relief operations and various community services.
Jeng P. Juan, APPEND president, affirmed that when RA 10693 became a law in 2015, the microfinance NGOs were able to increase the amount spent on community services by P476.6 million which is 82% growth for a three-year period.
Allan Robert Sicat, the Executive Director of MCPI for his part said the number of micro-entrepreneurs reached and the amount of microfinance loans given to the enterprising poor grew by 62% and 103% respectively.
They said that taking away the preferential tax treatment will remove the community services that the microfinance NGOs normally provide to their members. The enterprising poor will not only be deprived with essential non-financial services but the interest rates they will pay on their microfinance loans will also increase. The higher the interest rates on borrowings paid by the microentrepreneurs the lesser income retained and the task of growing their microenterprises becoms impossible if the major portion of their income will only go to loan and interest payments.