Microfinance stakeholders gathered anew for the Annual Conference of the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) held on July 26-27, 2018 at the Century Park Hotel, Manila. Around 570 microfinance practitioners (NGOs, banks, cooperatives, finance and lending companies), funders, government institutions, donors, investors, and other developmental organizations participated in discussions that centered on this year’s conference theme Going Back to Basics.
The two-day conference highlighted four session tracks – Social Performance and Client Protection, Compliance with Regulation, Products and Services, and Competition – that guided dialogues on the changes in the nature of microfinance in the Philippines, and how a client-responsive approach to the delivery of services could take the microfinance sector to greater heights and respond to the needs of the poor and low-income households in the country.
In his keynote message, Chairperson Emilio Benito Aquino of the Securities and Exchange Commission said: “MF NGOs provide millions of Filipinos a real chance to escape poverty. MF NGOs have a unique understanding of the needs of Filipinos and provide a lifeline, and help create a better future for Filipino families.”
During the opening plenary, pioneers of Philippine microfinance set the tone and context for the conference as they shared successes and challenges in the past 30 years; and tackled enduring issues and the future of microfinance. Digital financial inclusion, client-centric housing, water and sanitation, and clean energy initiatives for the low- income sector, as well as value chain financing program for small farmers were presented in the succeeding sessions. Client welfare was foremost in conversations during sessions on responsible inclusive finance and mechanisms for complaints resolution. Issues and concerns related to competition among MFIs, and human resources were voiced in facilitated discussions on addressing competition in the field and treating employees responsibly. On the industry level, breakout sessions on Microfinance NGO Regulatory Council Supervision for 2019 and Understanding Data Privacy for Financial Institutions were explained in detail. Leading up to the conference, MCPI organized a two-day Responsible Inclusive Finance Introductory Training for MFIs on July 24-25, 2018 in partnership with Appui au Développement Autonome (ADA) and the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF). Another pre-conference event, the Corporate Governance and Board Committees Orientation Workshop was also organized by MCPI on July 25, 2018 with support from ADA.
Members of the Board of Trustees were elected during the Annual General Meeting of Members held on July 25, 2018. During the conference, the following members of the board took their oath of office: 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; Mr. Josef M. Leron 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 Micro-finance, Inc., Mr. Gadwin Handumon of Paglaum Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and Mr. Rolando B. Victoria of Alalay Sa Kaunlaran, Inc. as Members. The Trustees will serve until July 2019.
Presentations during the 2018 Annual Conference can be downloaded here.