(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Wednesday, 29 May 2024) At 3:00 AM today, the center of the eye of Typhoon "AGHON" {EWINIAR} was estimated based on all available data at 850 km East Northeast of Extreme Northern Luzon (23.1°N, 129.7°E) with maximum sustained winds of 130 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 160 km/h. It is moving Northeastward at 20 km/h. Southwesterly Windflow affecting the western section of the country. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from South to Southwest will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Friday, April 26, 2024

Microfinance institutions in Caraga support government’s poverty alleviation program

By Jennifer Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY (PIA) – A study tour dubbed “Panaghiusa” meaning unity or togetherness took place in different barangays of Butuan City from April 16 to 18. 

This initiative was spearheaded by the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development-Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD-MRI), media practitioners, and representatives from Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga to support the business endeavors and livelihoods of the local communities through a loan program. 

The microfinance institutions operating under CARD-MRI are community development financial entities established to support business development and community empowerment, especially owners of small business entities or micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Members of ASA Philippines, a non-profit, non-stock corporation specializing in microfinance under the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development - Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD -MRI), convened for its weekly meeting in Barangay Antongalon, Butuan City. Photo by PIA Caraga

Media practitioners and representatives from PIA Caraga regional office witnessed how microfinance institutions conduct their weekly meetings in the barangays and assist their members in paying their weekly dues. 

Proper protocol was observed to ensure that the gathering was safe and secured at the designated meeting center.

Aristeo A. Dequito, CARD-MRI managing director, stressed that microfinance institutions are one with the government in addressing poverty alleviation, as this concern needs a whole-of-nation approach, linking partnership and counterparts with various stakeholders.

Aristeo A. Dequito, managing director of Center for Agriculture and Rural Development-Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD-MRI), shared with the media practitioners during the Lakbay-Aral dubbed “Panaghiusa,” the services provided during the “Kaunlaran Caravan,” which is one of their activities this month of April for its members in Butuan City. Photo by PIA Caraga

“The CARD-MRI is a group of mutually reinforcing institutions with the common goal of eradicating poverty in the Philippines and upholding the lives of Filipinos. We also support the government in implementing its programs and services for the vulnerable sectors, leaving no one behind,” he said. 

Dequito recalled that the CARD-MRI was established in December 1986 as a social development foundation by a group of 15 rural development practitioners. 

“CARD-MRI is committed to empowering socially and economically challenged women and families to eventually transform them into responsible citizens for their community and the environment. From its humble beginnings, CARD-MRI has evolved into 14 development institutions,” he said.

Also, Marjun Bangahon, unit manager of CARD MRI Rizal Bank, who was assigned to monitor the members in Barangay Antongalon, Butuan City, explained that small loans are granted to the poor and low-income households for their microenterprises and small businesses to enable them to raise their income levels and improve their living standards. 

“During the weekly meetings with our members, we update them on the status of their loans as well as the upcoming activities and opportunities for their families, just like the scholarship program,” said Bangahon.

Sharing of members’ business endeavors

Francisco Antioquia, a retired government employee who now ventures into the making of tablea from Barangay Antongalon, Butuan City, showed to media practitioners and personnel from PIA Caraga the machines and equipment they use when producing tablea from cacao seeds.

Francisco Antoquia, a retired government employee and producer of tablea from Barangay Antongalon, Butuan City, thanked the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development -Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD - MRI) for the opportunity to avail of the loan program that helped them sustain their business. Photo by PIA Caraga

Antoquia shared withthe team that his family was able to benefit from the loan program of CARD-MRI and has improved their tablea business as their livelihood.

“During my retirement, I decided to venture into tablea-making since we have cacao trees in our backyard, and getting a loan from CARD-MRI really helped our business. We will soon connect with the Department of Trade and Industry’s Pasalubong Center to expand our market,” he said.

Juvelyn Laguesma of Barangay San Vicente, Butuan City, also showed the team the step-by-step procedures for making a tasty and crunchy chicharon (pork rind).

Juvelyn Laguesma of Barangay San Vicente, Butuan City, shared that her family is now helping other micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) earn income by reselling chicharon in their respective barangays. Photo by PIA-Caraga

Laguesma, 44 years old and mother of three, has been in this business since 2018.

She said, "At first, it was my mother who availed of the loan program from the CARD-MRI, which we used to start the business, and just last year (2023), my own family also availed of the same program, and we used the funds to expand our business as our livelihood." 

She was thankful to CARD-MRI for the constant guidance and assistance, as they now have resellers from the different parts of region.

“Our product packaging has also improved withthe help of this microfinance institution,” she added.

CARD MRI’s mission

The Center for Agriculture and Rural Development-Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD-MRI) is committed to: 1) empower socially and economically challenged women and families through continuous access to financial, microinsurance, educational, livelihood, health, and other capacity-building services that eventually transform them into responsible citizens for their community and the environment; 2) enable the women members to gain control and ownership of financial and social development institutions; and 3) partner with appropriate agencies, private institutions, and people and community organizations to facilitate the achievement of mutual goals. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)