Feature: Bayanihan savings project benefits poor families

PIA Press Release 2008/04/09

Feature: Bayanihan savings project benefits poor families

by ES Subong

Iloilo City (9 April) -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has embarked on a community-based savings and micro-finance program all over the country several years ago, which now counts on 146,000 beneficiaries enjoying a combined savings of more than 132 million pesos.

This mass-based banking system is called the Bayanihan Savings Replication Project (BSRP) which is in partnership with the Local Government Units (LGUs).

The BSRP operationalization include values-formation and enterprise development program, building on the local capacity of low-income families by adopting the Filipino value of working together and of thrift.

The BSRP, according to DILG Information Officer Ana Carolina Jardiolin, implements mass-based savings where members remit during their weekly meeting a savings they have pledged to make.

The members are then trained to undertake micro-finance activities and after six months, their savings are then placed in livelihood activities, such as maintaining a sari-sari stores, hog raising and retailing of agricultural products.

The DILG has documented that the BSRP partnership with the LGUs also brings benefits for the families and the community by increasing family incomes through savings and capital build up, besides promoting self-reliance, unity and entrepreneurship.

The case of Bgy. Amurao, Cabatuan, Iloilo, which got the distinction of being one of the LGU Best practices documented, showed that the BSRP there eliminated some undesirable habits of the people, like gambling, indifference to local development projects, lack of prudence in spending their hard-earned money and a sheer disregard for the effects of their activities on the environment.

Today, with the support of Cabatuan Mayor Ramon Yee and the Sangguniang Bayan that drafted a resolution adopting the program, the BSRP has organized the Amurao Kiddie Bayanihan Center, replicating their savings scheme.

The DILG hopes that the BSRP can be formed into a union or federation of cooperatives, in the years to come, when the members and the LGUs can develop together more effectively as entrepreneurs and development managers. (PIA 6)

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