Sen. Bam joins MFIs in celebrating anniversary of significant law, MFI NGOs Act

CEBU CITY – Sen. Bam Aquino joined the microfinance community here to celebrate the third anniversary of the enactment of Republic Act 10693 or the Microfinance NGOs Act, which he spearheaded as principal sponsor in the Senate.

The reform was signed into law on Nov. 3, 2015 and has since saved the sector P479.5 million, allowing MFI NGOs to help more Filipinos in need of low-interest, no-collateral loans.

In his speech during the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Microfinance Entrepreneurs Summit, Sen. Bam thanked MFI NGOs for their role in crafting RA 10693 to help them become more effective in providing assistance to millions of Filipinos.

“Talagang maganda ang ating nakakamit kapag tayo’y nagtutulungan. Kaya po natin gumawa ng mga repormang nakakatulong sa ating mga kababayan,” Sen. Bam said.

“Thanks to our law, there are more micro-loans and more training programs from MFI NGOs for Filipino families and micro-entrepreneurs,” said Sen. Bam.

The senator also said that many micro-enterprises and local entrepreneurs inspired him to push for the passage of the law in the Senate, saying RA 10693 provides them the needed assistance and opportunity to succeed.

“Kaunting tulong, kaunting oportunidad at kaya nang iangat ng Pilipino ang kanilang pamilya. Kaunting tulong at matinding pagkayod at umaasenso ang pamilyang Pilipino,” said Sen. Bam.

Before he became a senator, Sen. Bam worked closely with MFI NGOs during his time as social entrepreneur and co-founder of Hapinoy program, which assists sari-sari store owners.

“Noong binigyan namin sila ng training sa negosyo, noong iniugnay natin sila sa MFIs para makakuha ng puhunan, nagawa nilang palaguin ang kanilang munting tindahan, mapaaral ang mga anak, at makalikha ng mas mabuting kinabukasan para sa kanilang pamilya,” said Sen. Bam. 

Republic Act 10693 gives incentives to MFI NGOs to continue helping Filipinos overcome poverty not just through financing but also through financial literacy, livelihood, and entrepreneurship training.

The law also provides MFI NGOs needed support and incentives that includes access to government programs and projects, technical assistance and exemption from taxes.

Sen. Bam’s advocacy for micro, small and medium enterprises inspired him to push for the enactment of several laws, such as the Go Negosyo Act, Youth Entrepreneurship Act, Credit Surety Act and the Personal Property Security Act.

Youth Groups Converge to Create DRR National Network

Senator Bam Aquino aims to create a powerful network of young Filipinos who can provide dependable support during calamities and disasters and beef up the country’s disaster risk reduction (DRR) management program.

Aquino made this pronouncement after the successful staging of a two-day consultation and design thinking workshop, dubbed as “RESCYouth: Responsive, Empowered and Service-Centric Youth,” held at the RAFI Kool Adventure Camp in Balamban, Cebu.

Coming from different parts of the country, participants who attended the event are involved in the different facets of DRR, such as disaster preparation, rescue, relief and rehabilitation.

Others are volunteer firefighters, first responders and peacekeepers in their respective localities, like the Rescue Assistance Peacekeeping Intelligence Detail (RAPID) of Cebu City and the Ormoc City-based Hayag Youth Organization.

RAPID has vast experience in relief and rescue operation. They were one of the first responders in Tacloban City after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda.  They also helped rescue passengers of a passenger vessel that collided with a cargo ship in Cebu last year.

Hayag, for its part, has been teaching swimming, disaster preparedness, first aid and open water safety training to youth.  They have successfully taught their members when no one among them had a major accident when Typhoon Yalanda hit Ormoc City last year.

“We can make this network a powerful network of young Filipinos who can make a difference,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

“May disaster man o wala, naririyan tayo para magtulungan at magsama-sama upang matalo natin iyong pinakamamalaking problema sa ating bayan,” he added.

After calamities and disasters, Aquino hopes the network could address other problems hounding the society, such as hunger, lack of education and poverty.

During the event, about 100 youth participants were able to formulate ways and programs that can help improve the country’s present DRR management schemes.

“We expect participants to help this program expand to their respective organizations and communities so many people will benefit from it,” Aquino said.

Participants also committed to closely coordinate with other organizations to expand their network and widen their knowledge about DRR management.

“We will have these organizations as our focal point of support during disasters,” Aquino said.

During the workshop, several personalities shared their experiences and knowledge in DRR management, including Mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier of Javier, Leyte, Gawad Kalinga’s Mark Lawrence Cruz and Mario Urrutia III of Reporter’s Notebook.

GMA-7’s resident meteorologist Nathaniel Cruz, Hapinoy Executive Director TJ Agulto and Voltaire Tupaz of Rappler also imparted their knowledge to the participants.

RESCYouth to Boost DRR Knowledge Among Youth

In an effort to educate and equip the youth with the proper knowledge in disaster risk reduction (DRR), the Office of Senator Bam Aquino has organized a consultation and design thinking workshop that will be held in Balamban, Cebu from Nov. 6-7.

Dubbed as “RESCYouth: Responsive, Empowered and Service-Centered Youth,” the two-day workshop will be held at the RAFI Kool Adventure Camp.

“As observed in the past, the youth sector is always at the forefront of relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation during disasters such as the Cebu earthquake and typhoon Yolanda,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

“The manpower and innovative ideas they share with communities help contribute to the fast and efficient emergency relief operations, making them a key partner in disaster management,” the senator added.

Around 100 youth organizations from different parts of the country and have existing DRR programs and projects are expected to attend the workshop.

During the workshop, youth organizations will have an active exchange of ideas regarding best DRR practices, leading to the creation of new schemes that will enhance present DRR management program in different areas of the country.

“As we remember the victims and survivors of Yolanda this week, we need to equip our young people with tool and skills to better prepare and respond for disasters,” Aquino added.

The workshop is also aimed at equipping participants with DRR knowledge and information that they can share to their respective communities.

Aside from Senator Aquino, other speakers during the workshop are Mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier of Javier, Leyte, Gawad Kalinga’s Mark Lawrence Cruz and Mario Urrutia III of Reporter’s Notebook, GMA7.

GMA-7’s resident meteorologist Nathaniel Cruz, Hapinoy Executive Director TJ Agulto and Zak Yuson of Rappler’s MovePH are also expected to impart their knowledge and experience during the workshop.

The speakers will discuss different topics, ranging from best practices of local government units (LGUs) during disasters, tapping the spirit of volunteerism during relief and rescue operations and the role of media as information dissemination arm.

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