The Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.), the financing arm of the Department of Trade and Industry, has started releasing loans under the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program to micro enterprises in Boracay Island.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the first batch of loans through the P3 program is intended to support micro entrepreneurs during the island’s six-month closure since April 26, 2018.

"Helping the people of Boracay Island and local tourism during this period means ensuring their micro entrepreneurs have access to available funds to support their businesses," Lopez said.

The first batch of seven micro entrepreneurs from Boracay were granted Php30,000 loans each through P3. Payment varies from monthly or semi-monthly for six months to one year, depending on the borrower's ability to pay, Lopez explained.

The P3 Program is the national government's initiative which provides affordable, low cost, and easy-to-pay loans to micro enterprises to help them expand their businesses and provide an alternative to 5-6 lending.

DTI is a member of the Working Group on employment and livelihood and the lead agency in the establishment of the Operations Center/ One-Stop Shop in Boracay Island.

SB Corp. President and CEO Ma. Luna Cacanando said that micro entrepreneurs can use the loan for their businesses' expansion while residents await the reopening of the island to tourists on October 26, 2018.

“We will assist more micro entrepreneurs in the island through the P3 program to ensure that their businesses will be quick to recover and ready once the island reopens to tourists,” Cacanando stressed.

While the island has yet to reopen, micro entrepreneurs selling in Boracay will be given the opportunity to continue their businesses through alternative market outlets in nearby resorts and pasalubong centers.

The loan program is in line with President Duterte's directive to provide intervention to displaced workers and entrepreneurs who will be affected by the island's six-month closure. END

 

Small Business Corporation is celebrating its 27th year as a GOCC and as the implementing agency of the access to MSME finance agenda under the Magna Carta.

President Duterte has strongly advocated for a stronger MSME as the solution to achieving a middle class economy for the country.  Thus, national government funding through SBCorp has been increased significantly starting 2017.

While the size of its resources has been limited in the early years, SBCorp has done its best to fulfil its mandate.  It has embarked on the path of a trailblazer with programs including the Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing for Yolanda-affected MSMEs, the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso as an anti-5/6 strategy, and investment financing to special communities engaged in entrepreneurship.  SBCorp has trained rural banks and its account officers on how to lend to MSMEs as well as trained MSMEs to bridge the information gap between lenders and borrowers for a reinforced environment of trust and confidence between the supply side and the demand side.

SBCorp has not stopped innovating and has adapted to the changing environment faced by the MSME sector.

Philippine Star caught up with SBCorp President and CEO Ma. Luna Cacanando for an interview.

1.For the past 27 years, what are the landmark projects that the agency has implemented?  How did these help improve the stability and sustainability of small businesses?

Since its creation in 1991, SBCorp has helped advocate the increased allocation of the country’s financial resources to MSME finance.Coverage of the first Magna Carta in 1991 was limited to “small enterprises”.This was expanded to cover “small and medium enterprises” in 1998, and the law eventually became Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in 2008.Under the Magna Carta, banks are required to allocate a certain percentage of their amount of lending to MSMEs.In the case of the 2008 amendment of the Magna Carta, banks had been required to lend at least 8% to micro and small enterprises and at least 2% to medium enterprises for the period 2008 up to 2018.Congress is reviewing the extension of this affirmative action in favour of MSMEs.

To date, SBCorp is the only government corporation mandated to wholly focus on MSME finance.SBCorp is differentiated from the banks in terms of target market, i.e. small businesses that are still young in their life as an enterprise and that do not have the required collateral.In times of deep impact calamities such as the Yolanda super typhoon and the Marawi war, SBCorp is mandated to respond by way of appropriate financing facilities that are of significantly low interest rate and of sufficient grace period in repayment schedule.

In 2014 and 2015, the national government issued P200.0 million in credit risk fund and P750.0 million in credit guarantee fund through SBCorp as lending support to Yolanda-affected MSMEs.Starting 2017, NG has issued through SBCorp at least P1.0 billion every year as lending support to micro enterprises plagued by 5/6 lenders.

The P1.0 billion a year fund is called Pondo Para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso.Congress has issued an endorsement to increase the allocation for this fund to P6.0 billion in 2019.

An important accomplishment in MSME development finance as implemented by SBCorp is having been able to prove that MSMEs do pay their loans.With proper credit evaluation and monitoring of the borrowers, loan default is kept within acceptable levels.

In order to scale up and mainstream MSME finance, SBCorp has been training account officers of rural banks under a certification program with the end of producing more AOs that are equipped in evaluating SME loans.

 

2. What are the most difficult challenges that hinder small Filipino entrepreneurs from striving in the business arena?  How do you help them with said problems?

Poverty in itself is a huge challenge faced by everyone in the lower economic class.  This difficulty is extended in the life of a micro entrepreneur who has barely enough savings to run the business on top of putting food on the table for the family. 

The most important step for an entrepreneur is to create and to harness the product and/or service that the business would like to sell to the market.  This involves a learning process including experimentation which entails cost. 

A second challenge is being able to scale up production which requires hiring and training of labor.  During the transition period, the small business will not have enough sales to pay for the right wages for its workers.

Government has responded to these challenges through microfinance, specifically the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso, through a whole range of trainings by DTI, through the roll-out of Shared Service Facilities and through the BMBE policy which exempts micro enterprises from paying minimum wage and income tax. 

 

3. For SBCorp, what are the challenges that you have to overcome in order to provide quality service to small Filipino entrepreneurs?

Development finance or MSME finance requires a unique set of skills on the part of SBCorp as a lender.  SBCorp started lending directly to MSMEs at a significant rate in 2003.  In the beginning, the frontline teams were inexperienced in the nuances of lending to pre-bankable enterprises.  Problems in collection of the MSME loans emerged, more as a result of operations risk on top of the usual credit risk. 

In 2005 and the next three years, SBCorp had the benefit of training and consultancy services by a number of overseas development agencies (ODA).  These helped SBCorp set up its risk management system inclusive of borrowing risk rating scorecards for small enterprises and for conduits, and helped SBCorp’s management and front-line teams to better understand the conceptual framework for MSME finance.  

 

4. What are the programs that you are currently implementing and how will it affect Filipino businesses?

SBCorp’s services today can be classified into four.

First is Direct Lending to duly registered MSMEs, where loans range from P200.0 thousand to P5.0 million and average loan size is P500.0 thousand.SBCorp now has 2,300 active MSME borrowers all over the country under this credit modality.

The second service of SBCorp is the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3), where loans range from P5.0 thousand to P200.0 thousand.This fund is intended for micro enterprises (ME) with asset size not exceeding P3.0 million, inclusive of those not yet registered with the LGU or with DTI.MEs are most vulnerable to usurious, illegitimate 5/6 lenders.

In order to move P6.0 billion in P3 funds in 2019, SBCorp is completing the accreditation of at least 300 credit delivery partners (CDP) nationwide, targeting at least 3 CDPs per province.

Each P1.0 billion in P3 funds will support at least 40,000 MEs, spread out in all provinces of the country.For every P1.0 billion from the national government, each province should be allocated at least P10.0 million in P3 funds.

The third service of SBCorp is Capacity Building for partner financial institutions so that they can lend more to MSMEs.

The fourth intervention provided by SBCorp is Advocacy for MSME Finance, the goal of which is to “fight” for an increased shared for MSMEs in the allocation of the country’s national resources.This service finds expression in the laws developed and passed by Congress that are affirmative of the MSME sector inclusive of the annual budget or GAA.

Under the leadership of DTI Secretary Lopez, SBCorp chairs the Access to Finance Cluster of the MSME Development Council.  The mission of the Cluster is to “build consensus and capacity among public and private institutions that contribute to the development of MSME finance in the country by way of policy, standards and program implementation”.  The Cluster adopts a vision statement of “A truly responsive and inclusive development finance infrastructure shall have been instituted by 2022, resulting to an adequately financed MSME sector”.

 

5. Filipinos often have a negative notion on “borrowing”.  How do you educate the people about this?

The negative notion on “borrowing” probably arises from the reality of 5/6 financing.It is unregulated, the lenders do not have license to lend and they do not pay taxes to government.There are even reports of physical harm to the borrowers under this lending environment.Paying 20% interest rate for a month-long borrowing or worse for a one-week loan is in a way an act of desperation for an ME, where the ME ends up losing any chance for business growth as all his earnings goes to loan repayment, net of the daily needs of his family.

We need to educate and to equip our small businesses on how to source more appropriately priced loans.They need to start practising simple accounting of their sales and expenses, so that formal lenders can review their ability to pay.

 

6. Filipinos are often hesitant to start their own businesses because of financial risks.  How do you encourage Filipinos to overcome this idea?

To the contrary, study shows that Filipinos are risk takers.Among Asean countries, the Philippines rank one of the highest in rate of start up enterprises.The problem, however, is that we also rank highest in terms of mortality rate, meaning only a few get to hurdle the 40 months gestation period for an enterprise to be considered stable.

 

7. Many Filipinos are not financially literate.  What are your thoughts on this and how do you address this matter?

This is not necessarily true.Even MEs can run the numbers in their head.Same is true with farmers.They can intuitively compute how much they should sell their products and how much discount they can give their customers.The gap is in converting these computations into paper form and into accounting language.

SBCorp and the whole DTI family have put effort into this matter of financial literacy, so that MEs and small businesses can access finance from formal lenders.

 

8.  As we work our way towards Asean integration, how do we prepare or equip small business owners?

Our local MSMEs are seen to be the most vulnerable to the challenges arising from the integration as foreign players are allowed easier access to the Philippine markets.  Our regional neighbours have prepared their MSMEs through increased and cheaper financing, aggressive marketing and upscale in product design.  Our government is doing its best to provide services to our MSMEs at par or better than our counterparts.  We hope for the best and we continue to work hard in putting in place all the support that our MSMEs need.    

 

 

Micro entrepreneurs will be able to access P3 loans from more credit delivery partners (CDP) nationwide as the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) partners with fintech company CRIF Corporation to manage the loan operating system for the accelerated delivery of the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program.

SB Corp President and CEO Ma. Luna E. Cacanando said that a new P3 loaning scheme is under way, and it is intended to make the P3 funds more accessible to more micro enterprises in poor provinces and in other areas not yet sufficiently reached by formal lenders.

“The agreement with CRIF will make borrowing from P3 easier for the micro enterprise.    If in the previous P3 scheme, micro business owners get to borrow from cooperatives only if they are members, with the P3 scheme via fintech, borrowers can transact with any CDP.  The plan is to set up CDPs within an hour commute from the micro enterprise communities.  Moreover, the loan will be directly released to the debit card issued to the borrowers,” Cacanando explained.

Under the accelerated P3 loan scheme, CRIF will provide Loan Origination Service, Credit Information Service and Scoring Service.

Likewise, under this scheme, borrowers will have the choice to borrow from any CDP in their area and be assured of the maximum 2.5% per month interest rate as the Promissory Note will be between SB Corp and borrower, unlike before where some of the accredited financial institutions providing P3 loans impose additional fees.

Cacanando added that the new P3 program scheme will also prevent individuals and institutions from using the P3 program in activities other than entrepreneurship support.

Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to replace the “5-6” money lending system, the P3 Program, a financing program with annual allocation of P1.0 billion from the national government, is intended to provide micro entrepreneurs an alternative source of financing that is easy to access at a reasonable interest rate, that is under a safe environment away from dubious practices of informal lenders, and that is sustainable as delinquent borrowers are effectively barred from borrowing the next loan cycle.

Cacanando said that through the P3 program, micro entrepreneurs can find relief from overly expensive borrowings and afford cost-efficient and affordable form of loan to help expand their businesses.  Under the P3 Program, a micro enterprise can borrow between P5,000 up to P200,000 depending on its business status and repayment capacity with no collateral requirement.  Interest rate and service fees, all in, do not exceed 2.5% monthly.

The accelerated P3 scheme via fintech is set to be launched in the fourth quarter of the year, with pilot testing support under way. 

Cacanando also encourages micro financing institutions to apply for accreditation with SBCorp as Credit Delivery Partners and help spur economic activity in the countryside.

“We are encouraging rural banks, credit cooperatives and private financing companies with lending license  to partner with us in  the nationwide delivery of P3 loans. Enabling our enterprising poor to help themselves will level the playing field and empower them to take advantage of the economic gains rallied by the entire government and by the President himself.” 

Small Business Corporation, at attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry and  program implementor of the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) held a ceremonial signing for the first nine beneficiaries of the Equity/Investment Program for Microenterprises for the families of  wounded in action (WIA) or  killed in action (KIA) soldiers on February 13, 2018 at the AFP Medical Center Auditorium.

 

SB Corp has allotted P50 million  from P3 funds to provide microenterprise investments for families of KIA/WIAs from P50,000 to P100,000. The investment is interest free if paid within two years. If not, amortization will start on the third year with an interest of 2% per annum.

 

As of 9 February,  SB Corp  has released Php 902,000 in investments to 13 WIA/ KIA family beneficiaries.

 

One of the first batch of beneficiaries is Corporal Jayson Mante, 31,  who used the money in a school supplies store his family owns.

 

“ Malaking tulong po talaga itong tulong na dagdag puhunan sa negosyo namin. Dati po maliit lang yung tindahan namin. Di gaano napapansin. Ngayon marami na pong laman at meron na rin po kaming photocopying machine kaya  lumakas din po ang kita ng tindahan.” Corporal Mante said.

 

The others who also signed their investment agreements are Technical Sergeant Erlindo Agraviador, Staff Sergeant  Gilberto Oriel, Private First Class Arhenzen Waguiyon, Corporal Jhandy Arancillo, Staff Sergeant Peter Barros, S1UO Herbert Ryan Briz, Private First Class Joey Casto and Corporal Cris Jonathan Biznar.  They plan to use the money to supplement their existing businesses varying from  hog-raising, rice trading, food stalls and animal feeds retailing stores .

 

To date, SB Corp has approved a total of 43  applications with a total amount of Php 2.59 million. More than a hundred are in process and are expected to be released by end of February. Interviews and processing of applicants are still ongoing at V. Luna Medical Center.  SB Corp is hoping to release the full P50 million fund to deserving beneficiaries by the second quarter of 2018.

 

In the photo (seated left-right) are:  DTI Secretary Ramon L. Lopez; program beneficiaries TSG Erlindo  Agraviador and CPL Jayson Mante, SB Corp President and CEO Ma. Luna Cacanando. Witnessing the signing (from left to right) are: DTI Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya, AFP Medical Center Chief Brig. Gen. Leo Torrelavega. DILG KIA-WIA Program Manager Jocelyn Cabana, DTI Assistant Secretary Ameenah Fajardo, DND Assistant Secretary Antonio Bautista and Ms. Corabeth Magkalas of DTI-BMSMED.

 

 

After the release of the first batch of Pondo sa Pagbabagao at Pag-asenso (P3) loans to micro entrepreneurs in Marawi City in December, Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) is set to release P2 million more in loans to 150 public market vendors and DTI Starter kit recipients.

 

Of the 150 processed P3 loan applications, 95 are public market vendors and 55 are business starter kit recipients from DTI Lanao del Norte.

 

In a ceremonial awarding ceremony held last January 30, 2018 in Brgy. Sagongsongan in Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez handed loan proceeds to five of the 150 beneficiaries.

 

Rocaya P. Macabanog, a 68-year old widow and a retired public school teacher who owns a three- storey building in Padian Market in Marawi City, a section in the city being called as ground zero. The first and second floor houses her appliance and electrical shop and third floor serves as her family’s residence. When the war broke on the first day of Ramadan she and her daughter fled to Manila where her brother, a  lawyer took them in.

 

After the war, she immediately made preaparations to return to Marawi but her brother was reluctant to let her go, insisting that she just stay with him in Manila.

 

“I want to go back. I was crying and  telling my brother that I will return home with or without his approval, Macabanog related.

 

With the P3 loan from SB Corp she was happy to start again. “It doesn't matter if it’s small compared to what I’ve lost. What is important is I have something to start with. Even my supplier in Cagayan de Oro City is willing to help me.”

 

As a guarentee for her loan even if it was not required Ms. Macabanog issued post dated checks to cover her monthly amortization for the loan.

 

“ I want to show my commitment to rebuild my business and to rise above and heal from this experience.” Ms. Macabanog concluded.

 

 

SB Corp is targetting1,000 micro enterprise beneficiaries in Marawi City until the first quarter of 2018. Borrowers are required to  present a certification from DTI that the borrower is a starter kit recipient, signed Promissory note and disclosure, P3 Application Form and Valid IDs of Principal and co-borrower.

 

The P3 program for Marawi will also provide credit risk support to microfinance institutions (MFIs) including rural banks who want to start lending to the Lanao del Sur area in exchange for their timely and quick response. Loan qualification criteria will be relaxed to support gradual normalization of MFI operations in Lanao del Sur and nearby provinces where the displaced microenterprises were  temporarily relocated.

Interested microenterprise owners may contact SB Corp P3 Marawi coordinators at   (088)291-8033,  09759062762,  or 09166620488.

 

DTI Lanao del sur Provincial Office- Marawi Negosyo Center will also be open to answer inquiries on the P3 Marawi.

 

 On the other hand the national P3 program has already accredited 127 microfinance institutions SB Corp accredited conduits are currently lending to almost 20,000 borrowers in 71 province nationwide.

 

 

 

In 2018, NG will add another P1.0 billion to the P3 fund in order to support more micro enterprises in growing their small business.

The P3 Program is implemented by NG through DTI’s attached agency, the Small Business Corporation which is a non-bank government financial institution mandated under R.A. 9501 to support solely micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME). 

The P3 Program is now in full swing.  To date, with the support of DTI regional and provincial offices, SBCorp has accredited a total of 94 micro finance institutions (MFI) plus another 45 MFIs in the pipeline.  Except for a handful of provinces yet to be served, the P3 Program is now rolled out throughout the entire country from north to south.

The majority of these MFIs are cooperatives which are self-help people’s organizations that have a good grasp of what their members need in order to grow their businesses.  A number of large MFIs including CARD have also given their support to the P3 Program for its timely scale up even in remote areas of the country.

Under the P3 Program, a micro enterprise can borrow between P5,000 up to P100,000 depending on its business need and repayment capacity.  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 system.  Documentation is simplified and processing time is reasonable, which makes P3 a worthy competitor to 5/6 lenders.

The DTI-SBCorp will be launching in early December 2017 a P3 facility for the constituents of Lanao del Sur, specifically for Marawi micro entrepreneurs displaced by the war.  For the period December 2017 up to April 2018, interest-free P3 loans will be lent out to the area targeting several public markets and beneficiaries of the starter livelihood kits being distributed by the DTI. In succeeding months, some form of interest rate shall be charged but still much lower than the 2.5% monthly rate, until the situation normalizes in the years to come.

For MFIs that want to start lending to the Lanao del Sur area in solidarity with the people of Marawi and of the entire province, the P3 Program will provide credit risk support to the MFI in exchange for their timely and quick response.  A DTI-SBCorp team will be housed at DTI-Marawi, which will also be supported by the staff housed in DTI-Cagayan de Oro.  All MFIs that would like to participate are invited to contact DTI and or SBCorp.

The SBCorp is called upon to search for, to accredit and to support (by way of capacity building trainings) at least five local MFIs per province in the coming years in order to ensure that all micro enterprises will have easy and reliable access to reasonably-priced credit within their own locality (total of 400 grassroots conduits targeted).  It is hoped that the P3 program of national government will encourage communities to organize themselves into cooperatives or other self-help units engaged in entrepreneurship.            

   The rural banking sector is also invited to support the P3 Program given its more than 2,000 branches nationwide, mostly rural based, which makes these small banks a potent force for scaling up P3 and for improving the fund channelling system and for making sure that the P3 fund reaches the micro enterprises in a timely and judicious manner. 

SUCCESS STORIES

I. ROSE MARIE OBENA

Rose Marie Obena of Tacloban City  began her process of moving on and re-building her life  after Typhoon Yolanda took all 17 members of her family and left her alone by re-opening her store the moment  the Tacloban Market was ready to operate again.

“Mag-isa na lang ako, wala umaasa at wala din maasahan. Ito (her store) na lang araw-araw na  kasama ko sa buhay.” said Obena.

From the day she started construction of the store and whenever she needed extra cash to buy merchandise to sell, Rose Marie would borrow from a “five-six” lender. 

“For a small-time market vendor who has to start from the bottom again after my first store was destroyed by the typhoon it is the easiest way to obtain capital. I have no personal documents, no collateral, no bank will loan to someone like me,” Obena lamented.

Obena, along with thousands  of others   rely on  and  has been at the mercy of enterprising lenders and loan sharks  in the country’s public markets for many years.  They charge an  oppressive interest of up to 20% monthly to borrowers, who end up buried in so much debt because they do not have any other choice.

Obena  was among the first batch of market vendors who were able to access a P3 loan. She used the P50,000 loan to expand her  store and to  buy a refrigerator to sell softdrinks.  After three months she was able to pay up and renew her loan.

“Nakaka-ipon na ako ngayon. Paunti-unti nakakapagtabi ma ako para sa sarili ko. Hindo katulad noon na ang kita araw-araw pambayad din ng utang araw-araw.” Obena said.

II. Hercolano Villasin, FATIMA MULTIPURPOSE COOPERAIVE

Hercolano Villasin, never though that at his age of 78 he will be able to loan and continue his dried fish business  which he  has been doing since he was in his teens,

“Nasanay na kami na ang kinikita namin sa pag-dadaing pinapa-ikot lang.Kung may kita, may pambili ng susunod na paninda, kung wala eh si wala talaga,” Villasin related.

Villasin and his wife has been relying on their income from selling dried fish to nearby markets as their main source of income.

“Our children have their own lives now and we don’t want to obligate them to support us. So as long as we are capable of earning on our own we will keep on doing so,”

Mr.Villasin accessed the P3 Program through the Fatima Multi-Purpose Cooperative (FATIMA MPC).  A credit cooperative which was started in March of 1996  by a few farmers who saw that a source of credit is a felt need among the  poor  folks   in Calubian, Leyte. To date, Fatima MPC has  8,138 active members in 27 municipalities of Leyte and managed a total asset of P191, 619,877.36.

“Hindi sya mahirap tulad ng inaasahan ko. Unang lapit meron agad. Pati pagbabayad madali din. Nilapitan ako ng account officer ng Fatima MPC at tuloy –tuloy na mula doon,”Mr.Villasin shared.

“Over and above all the economic gains is the dream of FATIMA MPC to contribute in  the development of its members and community,” FATIMA MPC – Carigara Manager, Valentin Tambis related.

Fatima MPC requires their P3 borrowers to become cooperative members so they can share in the benefits and privileges enjoyed by their regular members. Although the requirements are much relaxed  and the processing faster FATIMA MPC  do not want to compromise the  quality of their portfolio.

“We advocate the true concept of self-reliance and thrift, wise use of money and that group cooperation is still important in this age of materialism,” Mr. Tambis concluded.

 

 

 

        

State-owned Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) welcomes its new President and Chief Executive Officer Ma. Luna E. Cacanando.

Cacanando brings with her more than three decades of MSME development finance experience and industry expertise, mostly as a government executive.  She went on an early retirement from government service in February 2016 as SVP of Small Business Corporation and Head of the agency’s Financing and Capacity Building Sector. 

Immediately prior to SBCorp, Ms. Cacanando was Credit Manager of Guarantee Fund for MSMEs (GFSME) until its merger with Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation (SBGFC or SBCorp) as the surviving entity in November 2001. 

Fresh from graduation from the University of the Philippines, Los Banos with a degree of B.S. in Agricultural Economics, Cacanando joined the then KKK-Livelihood Corporation in August 1983.  She joined GFSME in April 1993. 

Prior to her appointment as SBCorp Director and to her election as SBCorp President/CEO on September 6, 2017, Cacanando had the chance to work with the private sector for more than a year still in the field of MSME finance.  She was consultant of Country Builders Bank and of ADA Inclusive Finance, a Luxemburg development organization.  She was Director of Negosyong Pinoy (Venture South) Finance Corporation and was eventually elected as its President/CEO in the first quarter of 2017. 

Ms. Cacanando is an alumnus of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) where she obtained a Masters degree in Development Management in 1996. 

She was conferred Career Executive Service Office (CESO) by the Office of the President in 2001 and by the Career Executive Service Board in 1999, and at the same time as Career Service Executive Eligible (CSEE) by the Civil Service Commission.

Cacanando expresses strong belief in the MSME finance advocacy as an affirmative action in levelling the playing field for young enterprises that are yet to hurdle the age of maturity and for small enterprises that lack sufficient capital to get to expand into a formal business undertaking.  She shared that studies put this hurdle at 42 months of sustained operation on the average (GEM, 2014) and the definition for formal business as the ability to reach an employment capacity of 10 people or to set up a distinct main office or branch (Census of Philippine Business and Industry, 2012).

Ms. Cacanando takes over the helm of SBCorp with great enthusiasm that the agency will accomplish its mandate in MSME finance and its unique role in the national development landscape as defined by the Magna Carta for MSMEs. 

The Government’s Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) is now in full swing as the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp), an attached agency of the  Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced its partnership with three national and  local Microfinance Institutions (MFIs)  accredited to  lend out the P3 microfinance loans.

 

The P3 Program is a P1 billion microfinancing program designed in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to replace the “5-6” money lending system. The lending program is intended to give micro and small enterprises access to alternative source of financing that is affordable and easy to access. The program funds are being managed by the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) mandated to provide financing and capacity building services to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). SB Corp as part of its mandate, accredits microfinance institutions such as cooperatives, non-bank microfinance institutions (MFI’s) and other associations to become partner conduits .

 

P3 funds are now available throughout the country through three national conduits : Radiowealth Finance Company Inc. (RFC), Taytay sa Kauswagan Inc. (TSKI), and Mindanao Alliance of Self-Help Societies -Southern Philippines Educational Cooperative Center (MASS-SPEC).

 

Microenterprises may approach any of these conduits’ selected branches (complete list is available on SB Corp website) and  borrow P5,000 to P100,000, at a maximum interest rate of 2.5% per month, with no collateral requirement. This rate compares well with the 10-20% per month charged by other loan providers.

 

P3 funds is also available through 36 accredited local microfinance conduits in the provinces of Aurora, Benguet, Tacloban, Occidental Mindoro, Saranggani and Misamis Oriental. 

 

Program expansion for the next tranches of P3 funds includes two more national conduit and 88 local conduits in the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Cagayan,Ifugao, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, Quirino, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Cavite, Cebu, Iloilo, Agusan del Norte, Camiguin, Davao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte and Metro Manila.

 

Sb Corp is confident that by the end of the of the third quarter of 2017 it will be able to fully disburse  P 1 billion in loan to all of the country’s provinces with the help of these partner MFIs .

 

What’s driving the Philippine economy? Is it big businesses that dominate agriculture, manufacturing, real estate, mining, transportation, communications and other key industries? Is it the government, which formulates plans for the economy and enacts economic policy?

 

While government and big business both have an important role to play in the economy’s growth and development, micro, small and medium enterprises are, undoubtedly, also crucial in driving the economy. After all, they comprise 99.5 percent of all enterprises in the Philippines, according to the Department of Trade and Industry in 2015.

 

The crucial role of MSMEs

MSMEs are scattered in various sectors of the economy such as wholesale and retail, motor vehicle industries, food and accommodation services, manufacturing, information and communication, financial and insurance activities, among others. In 2015, it employed more 4.7 million Filipinos in various jobs in their sector, as opposed to the 2.9 million Filipinos employed in large enterprises, according to the DTI.

 

But when it comes to value being added to the economy, MSMEs are largely low value. In the latest available data from the DTI, MSMEs contribute only 35.7 percent of value to the economy, despite having more enterprises and workers being employed. This value is lower as against our Southeast Asian neighbors like Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, where MSMEs contribute a larger portion in their respective economies.

 

What’s hindering greater MSME contribution to the growth of our economy? Several non-financial factors are at play such as difficulty in securing government permits, access to electricity and infrastructure, natural calamities that threaten MSME production, among others. But more importantly, it is the lack of access to capital that prevents MSMEs from producing more and adding greater value to the economy. It needs the government’s assistance to acquire much-needed capital to start and grow their business.

 

“MSMEs are vital in dispersing new industries to the countryside and stimulating gainful employment. A country like the Philippines where labor is abundant has much to gain from entrepreneurial activities. MSMEs are more likely to be labor intensive. Thus, they generate jobs in the locality where they are situated. In this sense, they bring about a more balanced economic growth and equity in income distribution,” says Bartholomew Brillo Reynes, president and CEO of Small Business Corporation (SB Corp), a government-owned and controlled corporation that is at the forefront of the government’s effort to encourage MSME growth through various enterprise-financing activities.

 

Encouraging MSME growth

Since 1991, SB Corp. has been providing MSMEs engaged specifically in manufacturing, processing and agribusiness with a wide range of financial services, including direct and indirect lending, loan guarantee, financial leasing, secondary mortgage, venture capital operations and debt instruments for compliance with mandatory allocation provisions.

 

Together with DTI, its parent agency, SB Corp. works with various partner financial institutions such as banks and lending companies in providing financial services and assessing the different MSME applicants who want to avail of such services.

SB Corp. also works with other government financial institutions (GFIs) that provide similar financial services to other sectors of the economy. The company is the lead convener of the government’s ASENSO (Access of Small Entrepreneurs to Sound Lending Opportunities) program—the collective efforts of GFIs to lend to MSMEs.

 

ASENSO is comprised by Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, National Livelihood Development Corporation, Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System and SB Corp. As chair and technical secretariat to the program, SB Corp. provides the MSME Development Council regular reports of program implementation in terms of the level of portfolio, number of borrowers and jobs supported. Since 2004, the program has released a cumulative of P436.17 billion to various MSMEs, with SB Corp. share in the cumulative loans totaling P26.793 billion.

 

Fulfilling promises of change

Even as government changed hands in the past 26 years, SB Corp. remains steadfast in its commitment to support the financial needs of MSMEs. This commitment has become even stronger and broader under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

 

“Enterprise financing is part of President Duterte’s Ambisyon Natin 2040. Government must encourage investments in these sectors by improving market linkages, simplifying government procedures, and facilitating access to finance. This being said, SB Corp., by fulfilling its mandate of providing access to finance to micro, small and medium enterprises, plays an important role in the fulfillment of the administration’s long-term development plan. With administrative support of the DTI, it has responded to the needs—immediate and otherwise—of the MSME sector,” Reynes explains.

 

Among President Duterte’s directives in terms of enterprise financing to MSMEs involves the creation of a lending program called Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3), which aims to rival the five-six lending scheme that scrupulous lenders use to prey on MSMEs by giving them an alternative source of funding—a call which the company heeded. He also called on the company to design specific programs for calamity stricken MSMEs through its Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing Program that has now evolved into a Guarantee Program.

 

A year into President Duterte’s term, SB Corp. has already turned these directives into a reality and is helping millions of MSMEs start and grow their businesses.

 

Lending accomplishments

Leading the charge is the company’s lending activities. As of June 2017, the company’s total portfolio balance for its lending programs is at P3.0 billion, with retail lending posting the highest portfolio balance at P1.3 billion followed microfinance at P1.06 billion, Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing at P0.446 billion and MSME wholesale lending P0.234 billion.

 

During the first semester of 2017, the total loan releases for direct lending was reported at P846 million—an increase of 68 percent in loan as against P503.74 million total releases in December 2016.

 

MSME wholesale lending through partner banks posted releases totaling P243.56 million, a modest 13-percent increase from the December 2016 figure of 214.77 million. This performance was the result of MSME wholesale lending being affected by a more relaxed approach to wholesale and a policy shift to consider lending to MSMEs with higher loan sizes compared to aiming for a bigger number of borrowers.

 

MSME borrowers that availed of retail lending increased from 531 to 885 during the first semester of 2017, a 67-percent increase from the same period last year. Likewise, MSMEs that availed of wholesale lending posted a cumulative total of 182 during the first semester of 2017, a decrease of three percent from the same period last year.

 

Meanwhile, the company’s credit guarantee portfolio posted a total of P338.59 million in loans guaranteed for the period, while the total number of MSME borrowers guaranteed remained almost constant at 243 during the first semester of 2017.

 

Helping MSMEs recover

The company also continues to extend a helping hand to MSMEs in their effort to rehabilitate their business affected or damaged by various calamities in the country, particularly in areas still recovering from Super Typhoon Yolanda in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and the Visayas Region.

 

Since SB Corp. spearheaded its Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing (ERF) program in these areas in December 2013, a total of P629.80 million has been released to MSMEs that availed of the financing program. A notable beneficiary of the program is Bantayan Island, Cebu’s egg industry, which was rehabilitated within two years from the calamity through loans totaling P110.79 million. Another exemplar of success is the rehabilitation of the tourism industry in Cebu and Eastern Samar through loan releases totaling P16.8 million that benefited 11 hotels/resorts.

 

Fighting unscrupulous lenders

Another milestone in the company’s accomplishments under the Duterte Administration began with launch of the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program in three pilot areas in January in Alabel, Saranggani Province; Tacloban, Leyte and San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

 

The program is designed as a better alternative source of financing for enterprises that are forced to borrow from informal lenders at very high rates. From its initial pilot areas the program was rolled-out nationwide on May 31, 2017.Since then a total of P246.4 million has been released as direct lending to MSMEs and as microfinance through conduit financial institutions. Initial direct borrowers to the program were 180 micro borrowers (mostly market vendors) and 50 accredited cooperatives.

 

These figures are a testament to the positive response the programs has been getting from the MSME sector and proof of the potential the program has in eradicating high-interest lending schemes that target MSMEs.

 

Recognizing key partners

These successes would not be possible if not for the trust and cooperation given by SB Corp.’s partner financial institutions. In recognition of the critical role they play in providing financial services to MSMEs, the company organizes the annual Gawad MSME, where due recognition is given to distinguished PFIs instrumental in achieving the goals and targets of the company in the past year.

 

“Partner financial institutions are critical partners in the accomplishment of SB Corp’s vision of mainstreaming MSME finance in the country. SB Corp. agrees to support and cooperate with PFIs where the partnership results to increased access to credit for MSMEs,” Reynes says.

 

As SB Corp. celebrates its 26th year today, it shall celebrate it with extreme pride for having able to contribute to the promised changes that President Duterte has made. More importantly, it stands tall and with honor, as it recognizes its critical role in driving the growth of the MSME sector and in creating real change in the lives of its fellow Filipinos.

By EPI FABONAN III

 

 

 

 

 

As SB Corp. celebrates its 26th year today, it shall celebrate it with extreme pride for having able to contribute to the promised changes that President Duterte has made. More importantly, it stands tall and with honor, as it recognizes its critical role in driving the growth of the MSME sector and in creating real change in the lives of its fellow Filipinos.

By EPI FABONAN III