Sunday, May 30, 2010

Friday, December 11, 2009

Beyond Credit: A holistic approach to poverty eradication

(The following is an excerpt of the message delivered by Mr. Ruben C. de Lara, TSPI Executive Director and Microfinance Council of the Philippines Board President, during the first of a series of three conferences on “Beyond Credit: a holistic approach to poverty eradication” held at Waterfront Hotel, Lahug, Cebu City last 26-27 November. You may read the entire message at

We cannot be content with just focusing on microfinance, micro-loans, or microcredit and savings alone. The commercialization of microfinance which was the thrust in the early years focused on all these. They are not enough to eradicate poverty. The colossal impact of the two strong tropical storms in Ondoy and Pepeng confirms the truth of this statement. Eradicating poverty in our country became even more a huge and urgent task.

Microfinance --- in the Philippines as it is probably in the rest of the world --- is synonymous to poverty eradication. The poverty problem is not only huge and urgent. It is complex as well. I am not aware of any country having an integrative, well-concerted effort to solve poverty (other than the Philippines). We have a lot of well meaning countrymen and institutions doing their own share to ease the plight of the poor. Included here is our own microfinance group. And yet, the poor remains poor.

An integrative approach to tackle the basic needs of the individual poor and her community is vital. This approach will succeed only in a spirit of partnership --- partnerships with organizations that share the same vision and mission, and are willing to share responsibilities. This would raise much higher the chances of the poor to get out of the poverty syndrome.

When we view our responsibility in the microfinance sector as that of a Social Development Institution first, before that of being a Lending Institution, we create a strong spirit of philanthropism in the country - - a generous spirit that promotes the dignity of the poor because they have a shared responsibility as well in this whole mission, which is a mission of Christ no less.

Let us all (therefore) work towards this huge challenge. Such aspiration may seem like an enormous task --- but it shall be less daunting as we pursue our goal with the strength of a shared vision, shared beliefs and shared responsibilities.

The Adopt-a-Filipino Advocacy

“He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and God will reward him for what he has done.” Proverbs 19:17

The “Adopt a Filipino Family” is designed to provide long-term solutions to poverty in the Philippines by mobilizing small gifts from generous individuals who are interested in creating jobs, stimulating small businesses, educating children, building and strengthening enterprising families and communities.

The “Adopt a Filipino Family” Advocacy provides opportunities to everyone who wants to make an impact and lasting contribution to one impoverished family through their gifts of:

• PhP500 (or $10 USD) monthly/family
• PhP1,500 (or $30 USD) quarterly/family
• PhP6,000 (or $120 USD) annually/family

*The adoption commitment is a minimum of one year.

Gifts could be made through credit cards, bank deposits, checks and cash.

The gifts will be combined with other APPEND resources so that the families and their children could be provided with the following:

* Enterprise development and growth support (entrepreneurship training and competency development, business skills training and advisory, microfinance if required, product quality enhancement and compliance to rules and regulations, market promotion and business counseling, life and disability insurance to protect them from the effect of sudden death and illnesses)

* Pre-school and college education to indigent children

* Family values, character transformation and leadership development

* Health and nutrition

* High-impact and eco-friendly community-driven projects for the rural poor and indigenous peoples

Theology of Work: More than just the usual

BUSINESS AS STEWARDSHIP AND MISSION is a three-day interactive Theology of Work course that affirms the God-pleasing purpose of all work (including business). The course covered three main themes: STEWARDSHIP of people’s gifts, corporate culture, power, circumstances, community resources, values and rewards; HUMAN DIGNITY - that God created men as decision makers; lastly, JOY - every person in the workplace who has decision-making authority and responsibility experiences joy because deep inside, man has the desire to pursue significant work and he finds satisfaction if this longing is fulfilled.

The first of its kind in the APPEND network, the Theology of Work Course proved to be more than just the usual APPEND transformation training.

In attendance is no less than the APPEND Board themselves together with their respective teams. This includes Mr. Rene Cristobal of TSPI (Board Chair), Mr. Rolando Victoria of ASKI (Vice Chair), Ptr. Philip Tarroja of LIFT (Treasurer), Mr. Vicente Geducos of HSPFI (Auditor), and Sr. Adelia Oling of PALFSI (Member). Also present is Ms. Leah Aguirre (KRCI Executive Director).

The executive management and key officers of KMBI, OK Bank, RSPI, TPKI, TSKI, and TSPI were also present.

Held at Christ’s Commission Fellowship, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City last 18-20 November, the TOW course had for its resource person Dr. Gwendolyn J. Dewey, Bakke Graduate University Director of Doctoral Dissertations and Professor of Research, Theology of Work, and Community Development.

Participants had more than just their fair share of what it is like experiencing real “Joy at Work”. Hear some of them speak below:

“(The most significant thing I learned from this course is that) God is fun!”
Honey Grace Catalan, KRCI

“Work is a ministry. It means what I am doing in my work gives me the opportunity to become the salt and light of the world.”
Michelle Orodio, KMBI

“I’ve always viewed clients and employees as the same: customers. The difference is that, NOW, I tend to see them as PARTNERS in kingdom-building.”

Benjie Montemayor is OK Bank’s new president/ceo

Benjamin T. Montemayor is OK Bank’s new President and CEO/Director beginning December 1, 2009.

Montemayor first assumed office in OKBank as Board of Director in May this year and its advisor since October 2008.

Prior to his engagement with OKBank, Montemayor held top-level positions in various government and private financial institutions here and abroad.

ASKI and TSKI clients bag 2009 MOTY awards

Lolly Cabigat of Baler, Quezon (ASKI) and Cherry Yack of Danao, Cebu (TSKI) were awarded as 2009 Microentrepreneur of the Year for Luzon (Maunlad Category) and Visayas (Masikap Category), respectively.

Each of them received Php 100,000 cash and a trophy during the Recognition Program held in Galeriya Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Malate, Manila last 18 November.

Their respective loan officers also received Php 10,000 each as incentive for participating in the program.

A plaque of recognition was also given to ASKI and to TSKI.

The MOTY awards is being funded by Citi Foundation and implemented locally in partnership with Citi Philippines, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc.

Global Leadership Summit breaking records

With Dr. Bill Hybels, Rev. Wayne Cordeiro and the Philippines’ very own Dr. Andrew Liuson speaking live at this year’s Global Leadership Summit, more than 2,500 marketplace, businessmen, NGO, youth, and church leaders trooped to Manila (6-7 November) and Boracay (23-24 October) to attend the gathering.
GLS is a trusted, high-caliber two-day video-cast event that is designed to transform Christian leaders worldwide with an annual injection of cutting-edge leadership principles from some of the world’s foremost leadership experts and communicators.

Due to public demand of having at least one live speaker in the gathering, the GLS-Philippine team brought not only one but two live speakers in Manila and one in Boracay this year. And no less than Hybels, Cordeiro and Liuson, internationally renowned Christian leaders and speakers (for their profiles, visit, gave their talk LIVE and in person to a very eager and expectant audience.

The GLS is organized and produced by Willow Creek Association annually in Chicago, USA and brought to different parts of the world via video-cast. APPEND brought the GLS in the Philippines in 2007 and has been hosting the event in Manila since then in partnership with Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) and for the first time this year in Boracay in partnership with Taytay sa Kauswagan, Inc. (TSKI).

In its fourth year, the GLS-Philippine Steering Committee is eyeing to bring GLS to Mindanao. Thus, GLS will be in three sites in 2010: Manila (Luzon), Bacolod (Visayas) and Davao (Mindanao).