| 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)
Jerome James Arriola
Belinda C. Vicente
Erica Mae A. Silpedes
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.