January 23, 2017
Cayetano: 'comprehensive approach' needed to end usurious 5-6 scheme
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano stressed the need to enact a 'comprehensive approach' to end the problem of poor Filipinos falling prey to usurious money lending schemes just to get enough capital for their livelihood.
When asked about his stand on President Rodrigo Duterte's policy on microfinance, the senator said the administration, with the help of Congress and other government and private institutions, has come up with a plan to finally put an end to the practice of the '5-6' money lending scheme.
Cayetano said he had discussed with Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Land Bank of the Philippines, and five non-government organizations (NGOs), the President's directive to provide the poor with capital. "Kaya this year, through the efforts of myself, the senators, Secretary Lopez, and (Budget) Secretary (Benjamin) Diokno, nagkaroon ng P1 billion fund ang DTI para sa anti-5-6," he said in a press conference last Friday (January 20).
Congress recently approved Department of Trade & Industry (DTI)'s P1-billion worth of "Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso" or P3, which will be used to grant loans to small businesses with minimal interest.
As for Duterte's earlier directive to arrest Indian nationals in the country who are involved in 5-6, Cayetano said the ones whom the President actually wants arrested are illegal money lenders who evade tax payments and charge usurious interests.
"There's no conflict. Ang sinasabi lang ng Pangulo, follow the law. Kung Pilipino ka o foreigner, kung nagpapautang ka, make sure registered ka. Make sure nagbabayad ka ng tax. (Otherwise,) subject ka to arrest because you are violating the law," he said.
The senator had expressed support for Duterte's commitment to promoting the growth of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. He also lauded the President's directive to arrest loan sharks who impose illegal money lending schemes.
Cayetano has been a staunch advocate of MSME growth since his successful reelection campaign in 2013, during which he launched his PTK (Presyo, Trabaho, Kita) platform.
"Noong 2012-2013, sa pag-iikot ko sa buong Pilipinas, nakita ko, mula sa pinakamataas na bundok hanggang sa pinakamababang valley at pinaka-isolated na isla sa bansa, may 5-6," he said.
The PTK program has so far provided assistance in the form of low-interest loans to over 190 organizations of farmers, fishers, market vendors, PUV drivers, and small-scale workers nationwide.
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