ANGELES CITY – An initial amount of P150,000 was personally handed to the president of the tricycle drivers association here over the weekend to start their own micro-financing program.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter “Companero” S. Cayetano personally handed to Emil Suba, president of the 800-strong Balibago Operators and Tricycle Drivers’ Association (BOTDA) the funds under the senator’s Presyo, Trabaho, Kita (PTK) program during a short ceremony at the Balibago Barangay Hall here last Saturday.
Cayetano, who came with his wife Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano, said the funds are meant to offer the organization’s members small loans at very low interest and easy payment schemes to do away with the unscrupulous “5-6 lending scheme” or loan sharks that charge very high interest rates.
The senator said: “During this period of strong economic growth, what all Filipino families need and deserve is a kind of action from government that is free from corruption. They need to feel that they are part of this country’s development. Despite the recent corruption anomalies involving some public officials, we vow to remain committed to our goal of helping the people in their fight against poverty.”
But as Cayetano was delivering his impromptu speech before members of the BOTDA, he noticed that the senior citizens’ group was also in the audience. After giving them due recognition, the senator also acknowledged their contribution to the community and handed them an initial P50,000 to start their own micro- financing program.
Dubbed as “Kontra 5-6 Program,” the project in part breathes life to the promises made by Cayetano during his campaign for re-election in the 2013 polls where he launched the PTK platform aimed at promoting projects that lower the prices of goods, create more jobs, and increase people’s income.
The micro-financing mechanism allows members of cooperatives, entrepreneur groups and organizations more and wider access to capital that they can use to improve their livelihood and increase their income. “We hope that with this fund, the members will be able to borrow money without fear that a large portion of their incomes will go to the payment of high interest rates from the resident 5-6. We designed this program to be easy, simple and sustainable,” Cayetano said.
“By working together on projects that provide direct assistance to those who are in need, in our own way, we can help the government achieve the goal of making all Filipino families, especially the poor, reap the benefits of our growing economy so that in this period of development, nobody gets left behind,” he added.
Cayetano noted that aside from providing a source of fund for the livelihood of the transport group in the province, the anti-5-6 program may also aid in the development of the local economy of Pampanga by catering to the needs of its transportation sector.
“These hardworking people are not just PUV drivers. They are also drivers of the country’s economy. I believe they deserve to get all the assistance that they need to sustain their livelihood. So we decided to grant them access to capital through our program,” he said.
To date, programs under the PTK agenda have already provided a total of P1,050,000 worth of capital donated to nine local cooperatives and organizations in Pampanga, excluding BOTDA, that cater to different sectors of society.
Side by side with the Kontra 5-6 Program, the senator said he will strongly push for legislation that will institutionalize this kind of micro-financing model all throughout the country so that more sectors in society can benefit from the lending system.
Cayetano vowed to give a larger amount in January if the books of the BOTDA as well as the senior citizens’ group would show a progressive increase in their respective micro- financing programs.On hand to welcome the senator and his wife were Balibago Barangay Captain Tony Mamac and his wife Tess and Vice Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting.