Joint Resources Financing Program
City Government of Muntinlupa, Philippines

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The City of Muntinlupa has been regarded as the “Gateway to CALABARZON” (provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) being in a strategic location as the southernmost City of the Philippines’ National Capital Region. It progressively evolved from an agriculture-based municipality to a highly urbanized city in 1995 and became an investment hub of major business establishments such as malls, real estate, IT, commercial, retail and service-related firms. Nonetheless, despite the progress in its business climate, infrastructure, government service, and other development areas, the local government – similar to other cities - is still not insulated from the harsh challenges of urbanization, inequality, poverty, and unemployment. With the help of the National Government, NGO’s and business sector; the following have been generated: • Prevalence of poverty is not just a local-level concern but a national issue. As per Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) results in 2015 with poverty threshold of PhP 22,654*, poverty incidence in the City is at 7.8% or 5,981 families/households with 5 or more members. This is higher than the regional average of 4.5% as per Philippine Statistics Authority. • Unemployment remains a perennial problem. Unemployment rate is registered at 9.74 % in the same year. • Of the 13,255 businesses registered in the City in 2015, 99% or 13,167% are considered MSME’s or micro-small-medium enterprises. If broken down further, 87% or 11,585 businesses are micro-enterprises – those with below PhP 3 million capitalization. Programs to enable growth and development of these businesses must be given urgency and priority. • Data from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show that as of 2015, around 47% of all Filipino adults had an outstanding loan. • A majority of them, or 62%, did not borrow from formal sources like banks and cooperatives but from more informal sources like family members, relatives and friends and around 10% borrowed from informal lenders like loan sharks and 5-6 lenders. • Many people especially starting micro-entrepreneurs want to keep their business but lack financial support. • Formal credit market in the country is considered a market failure. While interest rates in lending institutions are regulated, tedious application forms, documentary requirements and collateral are needed to secure loans. These drive potential borrowers to resort to 5-6 lenders – mostly Indian nationals. In this scheme, there are no complicated loan application procedures. One can even get the loaned amount the same day, but as the name explicitly says, interest rate is pegged at 20%. These factors make it hard for budding entrepreneurs to really succeed in their business, and not lead to eventual bankruptcy. Given these many issues hounding the City and the country, the local government must do its share to address such gaps through implementation of necessary strategies and programs.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
“Joint Resources Financing” Program or JRF Program was re-launched in 2013 to address the issues presented, and was further institutionalized through City Ordinance 15-136. It is one of the City’s flagship programs on poverty alleviation with the aim of providing opportunities to low-income entrepreneurs via 0% interest loan / assistance and savings services, and helping them generate self-employment through livelihood projects. The program also aims to preclude Muntinlupa entrepreneurs from their habitual exercise of borrowing loans from 5-6 lenders, loan sharks, and other conventional lending institutions which eventually turn out to be burdensome on the end of the borrowers.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The Joint Resources Financing or JRF Program is envisioned to become a pioneering program in building self-sustaining and self-sufficient micro-businesses in the country. Its mission is to help low-income entrepreneurs in their business ventures by providing sustainable financial assistance at zero interest and by extending entrepreneurial education through trainings and other related interventions. It is a character-based loan program where clients from urban poor communities are treated and trained as business professionals. Initially, different communities in the City were screened and saturated to locate low-income entrepreneurs. These groups were organized and informed about how they can avail of the program’s offerings. They are carefully screened by loan agents in terms of current livelihood conditions which would serve as basis of the amount of financial assistance / loan to be provided to them. If regarded compliant and consistent on the payment of their dues, these entrepreneurs can renew their loans and expand their businesses. Minimum qualifications are the following: • Resident of Muntinlupa for at least 1 year; • Registered voter in the City; • Aged 21-65 years old; • No delinquent accounts from other lending institutions; and • Should have attended entrepreneurial education in the form of trainings; They are also asked to submit: • Valid ID; • Muntinlupa Care Card; • Residence Certificate or cedula; • ID Pictures; and • Picture / photograph of “business” Ultimately, as what will be presented later on through success stories of the program beneficiaries, the program helped solved the problem of poverty and unemployment through increased incomes and sustained and growing businesses. Upon conduct of survey and monitoring, results show that incomes of a good number of beneficiaries were able to surpass the poverty threshold.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The JRF Program, by far, is the only local government lending program providing “FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE WITH 0% INTEREST.” Many businesses, especially the smaller ones, do no prosper or grow owing to the fact that most of them borrow from lending institutions with relatively high interest rates. Also, the process for availing of loan is much simpler compared to other schemes, and without complicated forms, requisites and collaterals. The program is also innovative in the sense that clients also undergo Savings Program. This serves as safety net over their earnings as it gives protection both to the clients and the program itself. The information-education-communication or IEC campaign of the program is also broad since JRF Program staff conduct caravans and outreaches in communities and barangays/villages to inform the people about the program and its offerings. On top of these, it is a firm belief of the local government that the success of the program is way beyond providing financial assistance alone. It also commits to capacitating our clients through entrepreneurship trainings, values formation and other related activities. As it becomes the City’s breakthrough program, it gained trust and partnerships among the private sector, government agencies and NGO’s as they become instrumental in enhancing entrepreneurial skills of the beneficiaries.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The City Government, led by the City Mayor, convened key departments under the Economic Development Cluster and started doing conceptualization and brainstorming activities to kick-off an initiative that would benefit the City’s micro-entrepreneurs. Below are the key persons involved: Technical Working Team Honorary Chairman - Hon. Atty. Jaime R. Fresnedi (City Mayor) Co- Chairman - Engr. Allan Cachuela (City Administrator) Officer-in-Charge - Marilou O. Lobo (Program Head) Members : Jerome James Arriola Arsenio Gaviola Belinda C. Vicente Erica Mae A. Silpedes Secretariat: Ivy D. Almenanza Sheiryl s. Bonceli City Council: Councilor Atty. Patricio Boncayao, Chairperson of the Committee on Appropriations City Government Departments: a. Business Permits and Licensing Office b. Public Employment and Services Office c. City Public Information Office d. City Planning and Development Office e. Office of the City Administrator f. International Relations Office g. Community Affairs and Development Office h. City Human Resources and Management Department i. Department of Interior and Local Government - Muntinlupa j. City Health Office k. Chairpersons of the 9 Barangays / villages and their corresponding officials l. Community Based Organizations After some planning activities and program execution the year prior, the number of clients benefitting from the Program was around 1,800 in 2014. While the current number of beneficiaries is around 5,294 households, the City Mayor directed the Economic Development Cluster and JRF Program to reach 10,000 household beneficiaries as target by 2019.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
During the initial phase of the program’s implementation in 2013, the following milestones were conducted: Key Steps on Implementation: 1. FRAMEWORK CONCEPTUALIZATION (July – September 2013) The Joint Resources Financing Program came to existence due to the need and urgency to address poverty and espouse MSME development in Muntinlupa City. The directive is initiated by the City Mayor whose primary objective is to aid low-income entrepreneurs in the City. A technical working team who would conceptualize mechanisms has been formed through collaborative meetings and discussions with stakeholders from the local government, barangay or village officials, national government, civil society, and private sector. Immediate area visits and assessments were established to properly aid in the formulation of program mechanisms. 2. JOINT RESOURCES FINANCING (JRF) ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE FORMULATION (August – December 2013) The City Government of Muntinlupa through the Appointed Program Manager, Marilou Lobo, led the recruitment and selection of JRF Program staff members with the help of City Human Resources Department and City Budget Office. Office profile, service standards, job descriptions and other policies were designed. The organizational structure was divided into 4 divisions that have unique but synchronized functions and deliverables. 3. CAPACITY BUILDING (Continuing) Part and parcel of every effective organization, the Joint Resources Financing Program capacitated its staff / team members with trainings and seminars as deemed necessary in the operations and fulfillment of their mandates. They include financial management, loan supervision, and leadership and values formation. Community Immersion Program and Educational Tours with several lending companies were also provided. It also leveraged on its partnership with national government agencies like Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the form of providing training resource persons, mentors, sponsorships, and other support services. 4. INFORMATION-EDUCATION-COMMUNICATION (IEC) CAMPAIGN (Continuing) Information dissemination or typically called “IEC Campaign” is crucial in the success of any program or advocacy work. With the aim to expand reach and ensure support of the wider population, JRF Program did its best to leverage its staff and existing technologies. Caravans and program launch were and are continually being conducted in different communities in the City. On top of these, tarpaulins and large billboards are being installed in conspicuous places and major thoroughfares. Innovative social media accounts were optimized and website was created and updated to facilitate information dissemination and answer inquiries, feedback, comments and other suggestions about the program. Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/Joint-Resources-Financing-Program-JRF-894995850560262/ Website Link: https://www.jrfdagdagpuhunan.com/About-Us 5. CONDUCT OF ACTUAL LOAN PROVISION TO IDENTIFIED BENEFICIARIES AND OTHER RELATED ACTIVITIES (Continuing) The Credit and Collection Division of the Program is in-charge of the screening, loan releases, monitoring, mentoring, counseling and evaluation of the loan beneficiaries. To facilitate the process, said Division also created a group where members can appoint community volunteers as Team Leader cum Treasurer. 6. LINKAGES / TIE-UPS WITH PARTNER AGENCIES (Continuing) Partnerships and linkages enabling business growth via entrepreneurial skills trainings are also conducted. Memoranda Of Agreement (MOAs) with the private sector and national government agencies have been mutually signed as testaments of partnership and/or sponsorships. 7. MONITORING AND EVALUATION To ensure that the Program meets its mandated functions and desired objectives, monitoring system is put in place. Each division is required to submit status reports based on their accomplishments, client’s record of income increment, documentations of exit conferences and consultation meetings and other pertinent monitoring tools and records. Additionally, feedback mechanism is valued that it conducts periodic client satisfaction surveys, interviews, and the like. Further on resource mobilization, a big chunk of the financial requirements are locally funded. This is a testament to the City Mayor’s commitment to making and maintaining the initiative as one of his flagship programs. The program’s budget allocation ranged from Php 20 million to Php 30 million annually starting 2014. For personal services (or payments / allowance to staff and team leaders), the budget ranged from Php 5 million in 2014 to around Php 9.4 million in 2016. The support and assistance given by the partners (private sector, national government, and civil society organizations) are also as indispensable as City’s budget allocation since they serve as the program’s counterpart resources.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The City Government led by City Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi formed a Technical Working Team to lead the process. The following are involved: a. City Administrator’s Office b. JRF Program c. Business Permits and Licensing Office d. Public Employment and Services Office e. City Public Information Office f. City Planning and Development Office g. Community Affairs and Development Office h. City Human Resources Offices i. Department of Interior and Local Government - Muntinlupa j. City Health Office k. Office of City Councilor Patricio Boncayao l. Barangay / Village Officials m. Community-based organizations and other stakeholders (home-owners associations) Also heavily involved in the program implementation are the following partner agencies: 1. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – The City was one of the recipients of DOLE’s Sustainable Livelihood Program. This enabled 155 clients of JRF Program to receive assistance in form of grocery items worth Php10,000.00 each. 2. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) is a great financial assistance to a group of Low Income Families to increase the economic opportunities through the Community Driven Enterprise Approach. No. of clients : 111 clients Total Amount : 1.110 Million 3. COKE / TESDA – Established partnership thru a Memorandum of Agreement on “Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program. It aims to economically empower the target women beneficiaries by providing them the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude that will transform them into better and successful entrepreneurs. No. of clients trained : 2,700 4. GLOBE TELECOMS PHILIPPINES – Established partnership with the Program by way of sponsoring 2,000 business signage promoting JRF PROGRAM, Globe Services and the business name of the clients. 5. LINGKOD (SERVE) MUNTINLUPA FOUNDATION- the Foundation entrusted an amount of 1.2 million pesos to be used as additional budget allocation for loan purposes. No. of Beneficiaries is 521. 6. GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT (GAD) – Provided a budget worth 10 Million to empower more women to engage in productive economic activities. 7. GLOBAL CULINARY ARTS SCHOOL – partnered with JRF Program in providing spontaneous Food Enhancement Seminar for Hot-Ah Muntinlupa FoodPreneurs - a trade fair where groups of food entrepreneurs under the programs can sell their delicacies. 8. COKE FEMSA/PEPSI, INC – provided logistical support to the programs food fairs such as tents, tables and chairs.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The most successful outputs of the program can be summed up in the following: A. ON PARTICIPATION AND/OR CLIENT BASE - The increasing number of applicants and beneficiaries of JRF Program is a tangible evidence of how effective, efficient and sustainable the program is. Application process is also simple, efficient and hassle-free making it more inclusive. As of March 2017, the total number of beneficiaries is 5,294. B. ON POVERTY ALLEVIATION, based on results of the annual surveys conducted by the program staff, around 65% - 69% of the program beneficiaries are alleviated from poverty. C. ON RATE OF REPAYMENT - Repayment rate is high at 92 % of the total funds released compared to around 80%-90% - the average collection rate of conventional lending institutions in the Philippines. It can be posited that program beneficiaries are becoming more matured and responsible on paying their loan obligations as evidenced and documented by relatively high repayment rates. D. ON GENDER, DEVELOPMENT, AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT- SDG Goal 5 stipulates that ALL states must “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. The program, without a doubt, contributes greatly to the attainment of this goal. As per record, 90% of program beneficiaries are female. E. ON INCLUSIVITY: The program does not discriminate in areas of gender identity and/or physical attributes. 15 of the program beneficiaries are persons-with-disabilities (PWDs). F. ON LEVERAGING PARTNERSHIPS – The program was recognized by other organizations and entities. Various partnerships and linkages among other government agencies ,NGOs and private sectors. They further enhanced their commitment to support said initiative of the City of Muntinlupa.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Obstacles and challenges are true in every program or project implemented by any organization. Same is the case for JRF Program. They can be summed up to 2 areas: first is on Manpower constraints, the other one would be on the beneficiaries’ side. On manpower constraints, most of the program staff are newbies in terms of knowledge on and legwork of microfinance, credit institutions, accounting, and the like. Some are also having issues with regards to their work habits (tardiness, slackness, among others.) The issues were addressed by providing rudimentary staff trainings, seminars on aforementioned topics. Educational tours were also done for the staff to enhance their knowledge on skills on implementing and monitoring the program. The City Ordinance 15-136 institutionalizing the program also comprise policies and mandates each staff and division needs to undertake. On work habits, the staff performance was tracked through daily time records, and other means. Loan supervisors were also required to submit accomplishment reports, clients’ income records, documentations of exit conferences and meetings, and other reportorial requirements. On the side of beneficiaries, most of them still have poverty mindset / attitude. Values re-orientation seminars were introduced to remind that even the grandest businesses in the world started small, and that there is hope for everyone who perseveres. To those who are lacking entrepreneurial skills, entrepreneurial trainings were conducted. Another issue for some beneficiaries is their failure to pay on time making their accounts delinquent. Through business mentoring and counselling, monitoring activities were made consistent. Specific activities under this program include: Dalaw Negosyo or the “onsite monitoring or unscheduled visits”, weekly monitoring of repayments, and sit-down meetings to discuss and determine how their dues can be settled the soonest possible time.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The program helped alleviate the pressing issue of poverty and unemployment through increased incomes and sustained and growing businesses. They were now granted access and opportunities to avail microfinance. Unlike the case before, when most of them were deprived of these services owing to lack of capacity to set up business and pay dues. Since the loan has no interest, it means decreased burden for the borrowers. Also, the program goes way beyond just loan provisions. Beneficiaries were capacitated and trained thereby opening up newer opportunities for them to succeed even more. It advocated women empowerment and inclusion of the marginalized and vulnerable. 90% clients are females. Persons-with-Disability also enjoy the same privileges thus discrimination is not in its screening preference as long as the client is 18 to 65 years old, no mental health conditions, able to submit the requirements and follow the steps for loan application; the applicant shall be entertained by the program management team. The program’s further benefits and impacts lie on survey results. Satisfaction ratings are high at 90% (very satisfied). Documented surveys, testimonies and success stories of JRF Program’s beneficiaries validate and signify how the program became Muntinlupa City’s creative and innovative initiative to reduce poverty and attain sustainable development.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Since Day 1, transparency, integrity and accountability are at the forefront of the City Government’s service delivery. Good Governance is in fact a part of the 8-Eight Agenda of City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi. Internal controls and protocols are set to eliminate or avert red tape, inefficiencies, and potential corruption in the program. Financial reports are generated and are subject to periodic reviews and audits by certified public accountants. With regard to the performance of program staff, each one is required to submit individual performance commitment review or IPCR report. Said report indicates the staff’s mandated functions, targets, and accomplishments, and other accountabilities. The same is validated by his/her immediate supervisor and program head and will be subject to periodic reviews and evaluation. As to the physical and financial accomplishments of the office, reports are collected, consolidated and processed quarterly and annually as endorsed to the City Planning and Development Office. Supportive to the national government’s Full Disclosure Policy, it is also available for anyone to see and check. To ensure that the staff are incentivized and rewarded for their efforts and accomplishments, Annual teambuilding activities are also programmed for them to enjoy.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
SDG No. 5 or the goal stating” achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” is the SDG that the program greatly supports. Philippines ranks as 7th most gender-equal country in the world, and 1st in Asia Pacific. As stated, 90% of program beneficiaries are female. Women empowerment is also advanced though their participation in local bazaars and commercial events where they can showcase their products and help them get more exposure and confidence in business management. Likewise, in the scope of social, moral and spiritual values, the program has raised the standard of these values, as evidence by the participation of the whole unit. In effect, unity and close family ties uplifted. The partnerships with GAD,TESDA and Coca cola STAR PROGRAM helped equipped these female sectors to become more matured and responsible in their obligations, in their businesses and families.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   City Government of Muntinlupa, Philippines
Institution Type:   Local Government  
Contact Person:   Jaime Fresnedi
Title:   Hon.  
Telephone/ Fax:   63-2-862-2525
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   alvinveron@gmail.com  
Address:   National Road, Putatan
Postal Code:   1770
City:   Muntinlupa City
State/Province:   Metro Manila
Country:  

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