The 2017 MCPI Annual Conference: Embracing New Milestones and Challenges in Microfinance

The Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) held its 2017 Annual Conference with the theme Embracing New Milestones and Challenges in Microfinance on July 27-28, 2017 at the Century Park Hotel, Manila. The conference convened more than 450 microfinance practitioners, funders, government institutions, donors, investors, private sector representatives, and other development organizations to discuss milestones in regulation, products and services, partnerships, and investments in the Philippine microfinance sector and how microfinance players have responded to challenges in serving poor and low-income households.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez (center) led the oath taking of the newly-elected MCPI Board of Trustees for 2017 - 2018. (From left) Mr. Rolando B. Victoria, Mr. Gadwin E. Handumon, Mr. Angelo B. Solarte, Mr. Nilo Cellon (representing Mr. Kamrul H. Tarafder), Fr. Jose Victor E. Lobrigo, Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, Mr. Eduardo C. Jimenez, Ms. Marilyn M. Manila, Ms. Corazon Hernares (representing Dr. Cecilia del Castillo), and Mr. Jonar Dorado (representing Ms. Ma. Theresa Catipay), and Mr. Allan Robert I. Sicat.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez (center) led the oath taking of the newly-elected MCPI Board of Trustees for 2017 – 2018. (From left) Mr. Rolando B. Victoria, Mr. Gadwin E. Handumon, Mr. Angelo B. Solarte, Mr. Nilo Cellon (representing Mr. Kamrul H. Tarafder), Fr. Jose Victor E. Lobrigo, Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, Mr. Eduardo C. Jimenez, Ms. Marilyn M. Manila, Ms. Corazon Hernares (representing Dr. Cecilia del Castillo), and Mr. Jonar Dorado (representing Ms. Ma. Theresa Catipay), and Mr. Allan Robert I. Sicat.

In his keynote speech, Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) talked about the current administration’s goal of ensuring inclusive growth and addressing income inequality by empowering those at the bottom of the pyramid and marginalized sectors with the right mindset and know-how to be able to move up in life. To achieve this goal, the DTI has come up with the 7Ms for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) – Mindset Change, Mastery, Mentoring, Money, Machine, Market Access, and Models of Negosyo. MSMEs should be empowered so they can share the benefits of the ongoing economic growth, and improve the quality of their lives by engaging in vibrant entrepreneurial activities.

During the opening plenary, presenters discussed key milestones in microfinance including expanding and deepening of outreach of microfinance providers, establishment of industry networks and associations, expansion of services overseas, landmark regulations such as circulars by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Republic Act No. 10693 or the Microfinance NGOs Act, and enhancement of microinsurance regulations. In this session, challenges were highlighted including high cost of reaching remote communities, issues in peace and order, provision of more services to reduce vulnerability of the poor, and adoption of digital financial services. Other plenary sessions discussed the importance of credit information systems, implications of data privacy, and the implementation of RA10693 through the Microfinance NGO Regulatory Council (MNRC).

The two-day conference was devoted to the following session tracks: Innovations in Products and Services; Partnerships and Investments; and Improving Internal Systems. Breakout sessions expounded on these session tracks including discussions on energy financing, enterprise development, housing finance, risk management, social performance management, partnerships with the government, and alternative sources of funds for MFIs. Separate breakout sessions were also allotted for the consultation on the draft governance, financial performance, and social performance standards as part of the accreditation of Microfinance NGOs under RA10693.

Prior to the conference, a Finance and Audit Committee Orientation workshop was held in partnership with the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) while a Housing Finance training was conducted in partnership with Habitat for Humanity International-Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter.

New members and officers of the MCPI Board of Trustees were also elected during the Annual General Meeting of Members held on July 26, 2017. The Board members who will serve MCPI from August 2017 to July 2018 are: Fr. Jose Victor Lobrigo of SEDP-Simbag sa Pag-asenso, Inc. (Chairperson); Mr. Eduardo C. Jimenez of Kabalikat para sa Maunlad na Buhay, Inc. (Vice-Chairperson); Ms. Marilyn M. Manila of CARD, Inc. (Corporate Secretary); Mr. Kamrul H. Tarafder of ASA Philippines Foundation (Treasurer); Mr. Angelo B. Solarte of Taytay Sa Kauswagan, Inc. (Internal Auditor); and Dr. Cecilia D. del Castillo of Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc., Ms. Ma. Teresa G. Catipay of RAFI Microfinance, Mr. Gadwin Handumon of Paglaum Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and Mr. Rolando B. Victoria of Alalay Sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (Members).