The Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) held its 2016 Annual Conference with the theme Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals through Microfinance on July 28-29, 2016 at the Century Park Hotel, Manila. The conference convened more than 400 microfinance practitioners, funders, government institutions, donors, investors and other development organizations to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of microfinance in achieving these key development targets.
In his keynote speech, Senator Paulo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV talked about the journey taken by supporters of microfinance in the legislative branch and key microfinance leaders for the approval of Republic Act No. 10693, also known as the Micofinance NGOs Act. Senator Aquino underscored the need to explain and clarify misconceptions about the microfinance sector which helped push the microfinance agenda in the Senate and Congress. Senator Aquino assured his continuous support to nanays so they can graduate from micro to SMEs.
Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, through her representative, Ms. Georgina Hernandez, lauded MFIs for their contribution to poverty reduction and noted MFI’s perfect position to help since they know the landscape of the poor. In her new role as overseer of housing programs, the VP said she has a lot to learn from the successes of microfinance in the Philippines. In addition to managing loan portfolios, the VP indicated that the poor should also be taught the value of savings and use of market-based principles in managing their businesses.
During the opening plenary, UNDP Philippines Country Director Titon Mitra provided an introduction to the SDGs. Mr. Mitra emphasized the need for public awareness, multi-stakeholder approaches, monitoring, reporting, and accountability to attain the SDGs in the Philippines. The opening plenary was followed by a session on government, microfinance and private sector initiatives helping drive the SDGs.
The two-day conference was devoted to breakout sessions that tackled areas within the key development targets the microfinance sector can contribute to, including sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, health, clean energy, resilient human settlements, and disaster risk reduction and management. The insights of speakers were complemented by the sharing of experiences of microfinance clients, including Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) currently being served by one MFI, Kasagana-ka Development Center, Inc. (KDCI).
At the end of the conference, the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach in achieving the key development goals was emphasized and the support of the microfinance sector in government’s initiatives to end poverty was reassured. It was concluded that the microfinance sector can help achieve the SDGs through implementation of services beyond microfinance, enhancing relationship with clients, and maintaining linkages with government, private sector, and local communities.
Prior to the Annual Conference, new members and officers of the MCPI Board of Trustees were elected during the Annual General Meeting of Members last July 27, 2016. The new Board members who will serve MCPI from August 2016 to July 2017 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).
Presentations during the 2016 Annual Conference can be downloaded here.