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PHL officials sign IRR on Microfinance NGOs Act

Philippine officials on Tuesday signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Microfinance NGOs Act, a measure opening up government funding to Filipinos who plan to open up small businesses in the country but are considered as "unbankable" loan clients.

Under Republic Act (R.A) No. 10693, aspiring small entrepreneurs who do not have access to financial products and services can team up with accredited microfinance nongovernment organizations (NGOs) that will provide them with convenient, flexible, and low-interest credit.

The measure was signed into law by then-President Benigno Aquino III on November 3, 2015.

"By providing financial assistance to small entrepreneurs who would otherwise be turned away by financial institutions because of their perceived 'unbankability', the Duterte presidency would partly realize its electoral mandate of dispersing wealth and making growth inclusive," Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.

The signatories were Dominguez, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Social Welfare Undersecretary Mae Fe Templa, and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairperson Teresita Herbosa.

Also present during the signing was Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV who said the measure will promote inclusive growth.

"We're hoping that with this support given by the law, microfinance NGOs can do their job better and the microfinance industry can help bring families out of poverty in a sustainable way," he said.

RA 10693 is based on the policy of the state “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.”

According to the Finance Department, the law also provides for the creation of a Microfinance NGO regulatory council to accredit NGOs that provide financial products and services to small entrepreneurs. — Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA News