Tulong Puhunan Bill to promote micro, small enterprises’ growth

Seeking to unleash the full economic potential of micro and small enterprises (MSEs), Senator Pia S. Cayetano has filed the ‘Tulong Puhunan Bill’ which institutionalizes microfinance programs for small businesses in the country. 

The proposal seeks to fulfill Cayetano’s campaign pledge to facilitate people’s access to capital with low interest and simplified procedures that would enable them to start or sustain their own means of livelihood. 

‘Tulong Puhunan’ draws inspiration from the Presyo, Trabaho, Kita (PTK) program that the senator’s brother, Taguig City Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, started in 2013. 

PTK provides seed capital for micro businesses and members of the informal sector, and has so far assisted 218 organizations across the country. 

“We saw through the success of PTK how trust and a humble amount could go a long way to empower small organizations and help its members. We hope to institutionalize this practice through Tulong Puhunan,” explained Cayetano. 

She said MSEs comprise 99% of business enterprises and contribute more than 60% of jobs generated by all business enterprises. But she lamented how financial assistance is hard to come by, forcing many MSEs to turn to informal microlending schemes with prohibitive interest rates. 

The returning senator’s bill seeks to address the situation by creating a comprehensive development and assistance program for MSEs.

The ‘Tulong Puhunan Grant Program,’ which will be national in scope but tailored for each administrative region, seeks to provide MSEs with assistance and necessary resources to help their businesses grow. 

The program provides free technical and administrative support to MSEs under the top five priority business areas in their respective regions. Its services will cover product development, skills and leadership training, packaging and design, quality control, market promotion, client or supplier matching, and financial literacy and planning. 

The program shall also provide grants every year to top-performing enterprises in each region, to be used solely for further business capitalization. 

Moreover, every micro-sized enterprise that evolves into a small enterprise through the program shall be eligible for a one-time grant of P500,000.

The bill also seeks to create the ‘Tulong Puhunan Loan Program,’ which will cater exclusively to MSEs in need of capital, whether or not they fall under the priority business areas of their regions. These MSEs shall receive loans ranging from P10,000 to P250,000, with no required collateral, and with interest not higher than prevailing bank rates. 

An amount of P18 billion shall be appropriated for the initial year of implementation of the two programs, to be divided equitably among the regions. The fund shall be held in trust by the Department of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, and other Government Financial Institutions. 

With the programs in place, Cayetano hopes that enterprises would no longer need to borrow from usurious ‘5-6’ lenders, and instead benefit from inclusive growth through efficient and effective access to loan facilities. #

In this file photo, then Deputy Speaker Cayetano is joined by Laguna 3D Representative Sol Aragones, San Pablo City Mayor Amben Amante, and council members during a visit to the calamansi farm of the Sta. Maria Vegetable Farmers Association.
Photos: Senator Pia Cayetano with calamansi and vegetable growers in San Pablo City, Laguna. The Sta. Maria Vegetable Farmers Association is one of 218 groups that have benefited from Presyo Trabaho Kita (PTK), a microfinance program that was started by the senator’s brother, Taguig City Representative Alan Pater Cayetano in 2013. (file photo)

Second batch of bills filed to advance PH development goals

Senator Pia S. Cayetano on Monday (July 8) filed ten more bills in the Senate to support the Duterte administration’s efforts in attaining the country’s sustainable development goals. 

The returning senator said her second batch of bills reinforces her vision of helping the country meet its targets in line with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 and the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In pursuit of Goal 3 of the SDGs, which is to ensure healthy lives and promote the wellbeing for all, Cayetano is pushing for programs to provide better healthcare services and facilities to Filipinos, particularly on reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. 

These include three bills seeking to provide one midwife in every barangay; establish specialty centers in government hospitals and medical centers; and the promotion of Folic Acid food fortification and supplementation.

Furthermore, the senator filed measures aimed at upholding the country’s commitment to Goal 13 of the SDGs, which is to implement policies towards climate change mitigation.

Among these is the bill establishing the Department of Disaster Resilience, which will become the country’s primary agency in charge of responding to disasters and mitigating its impacts.

Other pro-environmental bills filed by Cayetano include the proposed ‘Sustainable Forest Management Act,’ which provides for the conservation of the country’s forest lands and resources; and the ‘Bicycle Act of 2019,’ which proposes to recognize bicycles as an alternative and sustainable mode of transportation.

Apart from these, Cayetano is pushing for the ‘Tulong Puhunan’ bill to institutionalize nationwide microfinance programs for the development of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs). This is in line with Goal 8 of the SDGs – to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all. The measure is also inspired by the success of the Presyo Trabaho Kita (PTK) program, a brainchild of the senator’s brother, Taguig Representative Alan Cayetano, which helps provide seed capital to people’s organizations across different sectors nationwide. 

“Let this be a testament of our continued commitment to achieve the collective aspirations of Filipinos, as embodied in the government’s ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040’ vision, where every family enjoys ‘Matatag, Maginhawa, at Panatag na Buhay,’” the senator stressed.

Cayetano likewise filed pro-youth and -family measures during the second week, including the Magna Carta of Student-Athletes; Increasing the Maximum Value of the Family Home; as well as an Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines.

“My objective is to keep championing the rights and welfare of every member of the family. This has been my fight ever since. Hopefully, with the help of our colleagues in Congress, our legislative action plans can help us attain our shared vision for a better country,” the senator concluded. #

Alternative to 5-6: Pia backs microlending program for informal sector

Nacionalista Party Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano is proposing to institutionalize a nationwide microlending program that would give poor Filipinos better access to capital to start or sustain their own livelihood.

Cayetano was in the province of Albay on Monday (May 6), where she attended the Bicol Agri Fiesta 2019 in Camalig, Albay.

In an interview with reporters there, the congresswoman said she wants to promote the country’s agriculture sector by providing agri-workers with better assistance and more economic opportunities.

Together with her brother, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia launched the Presyo, Trabaho, Kita (PTK) program in 2013, which provides seed capital for micro businesses and members of the informal sector. 

The microlending project has so far granted low-interest loans to 218 organizations of farmers, fishermen, market vendors, PUV drivers, and small-scale workers, including three organizations in Albay.

Citing the success of PTK, Cayetano said she wants to institutionalize a similar microfinance program nationwide, which will assist various cooperatives and provide low-interest loans to their members.

“The PTK program is our way of helping more and more Filipinos become self-sufficient,” she stressed.

“Nakita namin ang tagumpay ng mga beneficiaries namin sa PTK kaya balak pa namin silang dagdagan, at nag-iisip din kami ng paraan para ma-institutionalize ito,” she added.

The senatorial candidate further noted that the program could be one way to fulfill the administration’s goal of eradicating usurious loan systems rampant in the informal sector, such as the ‘5-6’ money lending scheme.

“Sa totoo lang, napakahirap para sa ordinaryong Pilipino na umutang sa bangko. Ang oras na para sana sa kabuhayan nila ay nabubuhos pa sa pagpunta sa bangko at pag-ayos ng requirements. Sa PTK, maaari na silang dumeretso sa kanilang kooperatiba upang makakuha ng pondo at di kumapit sa sistemang 5-6,” Cayetano concluded.#

Senatoriable Pia S. Cayetano visits market vendors and beneficiaries of the Presyo, Trabaho, Kita (PTK) program at the Legazpi City Public Market in the province of Albay on Monday (May 6).PTK