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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Manila small biz get funds

In support of President Duterte’s call to end the “5-6” lending scheme, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has released P607,000 in funds to support low-income micro-entrepreneurs in the city.

Estrada handed the cash aid to 108 beneficiaries of his Capital Assistance Program, a livelihood initiative he started in 2013 to help poor residents and owners of backyard businesses start up and boost their own ventures.

The 108 beneficiaries were “second timers” or those who have repaid the initial seed funds loaned to them by the city government last year. They were given a bigger loan to boost their businesses.

“You’ve proven yourselves to be trustworthy. You made good use of the capital given to you, so we will give you again a chance to avail the assistance,” Estrada told the beneficiaries during the release of the CAP fund at city hall.

The mayor discouraged the beneficiaries from getting “5-6” or usurious loans since it comes with high interest rates, which he said would be detrimental to their micro-businesses.

The micro-entrepreneurs will also receive free skills training and seminars to improve their operations, said Estrada, as he thanked Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo for supporting the program.

The beneficiaries come from Manila’s Districts 1 to 6, including a selected group from the impoverished community of Baseco Compound in Tondo. They each received up to P6,000 capital aid depending on the type of their businesses.

One of the beneficiaries, Natividad Hara of Barangay 11 in Del Pan, Tondo, was given a second loan of P6,000, which she said is a big help in her small business of selling refreshments and snacks near the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center.

Manila Department of Social Welfare officer-in-charge Nanet Tanyag congratulated the successful micro-entrepreneurs, as she assured the city government will continue supporting them.

Long before President Duterte’s plan to ban “5-6” in the country, the Estrada administration introduced CAP, where low-income residents receive a start-up capital loan of P5,000 toward their own businesses. The loan is payable in 10 weeks with no interest.

With the financial assistance, the beneficiaries have started backyard businesses such as eateries, barber shops, beauty parlors, sari-sari stores, salon services like manicure and pedicure, small-scale vending, and other ventures that only require minimal capital.

Through free lectures and training, the beneficiaries are also taught the rudiments of business management and operation to effectively run their community-based businesses. 

The program saw 532 beneficiaries in the second semester of 2016, and the 108 latest beneficiaries comprise the first batch for 2017.

CAP is also offered to street hawkers in Divisoria and public markets in Manila, to help them increase their profits and improve their economic standing.

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