President's Message
Atty. Benedicta Du-Baladad Message from the President:

Benedicta Du-Baladad

To FINEX members and friends,

November 2017 Issue

We are now on the final stretch of 2017. This year has been one of the busiest and exciting for both FINEX and the country.

Earlier this month, our country was once again placed in the limelight as we hosted this year’s ASEAN Summit. The summit provided us to showcase what our country can share to the world and the creativity of the Filipino people. Indeed, the recent hosting of the ASEAN summit placed our country

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Mr. Benel D. LaguaBy Mr. Benel D. Lagua
September 8, 2017


FINEX Files is a rotating column of members of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines appearing every Friday in Manila Times, business column section.

“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.”

- Hillary Clinton

In the recently held forum on “Mainstreaming ASEAN Women in trade of goods and services toward AEC 2025”, this writer felt very honoured to be one of the chosen few men to grace the event and be given the opportunity to share contributions at work for women in the micro, small and medium enterprises.

The administration of more competent women owners or managers have generally resulted to higher returns in investment, in sales and in equity. Three of those ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs inspiration cited in the forum are Malaysian Hooi Ling Tan, co–founder of Grab which is now valued at $3B, Indonesian Nabilah Alsagoff, founder of Doku, an online payments firm in Indonesia and our very own Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, the co-founder of Rags2Riches, a social enterprise that helps women to directly access consumers and retailers with their unique “upcycled” products.

However, there are still barriers in the economic participation of women. Some of these are capacity to take full advantage of socioeconomic opportunities and limited access to resources such as technology, finance, factors of production, information or government support. Women have to confront their control over resources including the freedom of decision making and accountability. One of the top exit reasons from an entrepreneurial venture by women is personal in nature, specifically pertaining to balancing work and family life, defying social expectations and coping with the fear of failure. It cannot be denied that indeed gender is a factor.

Based on a study by the International Labour Organization, the global female labour participation rate has decreased from 52.4% to 49.6% between 1995 and 2015. The gender gap has declined only marginally. Globally, 37% of business establishments are owned by women based on IFC Banking on Women 2013. That means 224 Million women contribute in the global economy of which 126 Million women are in business, a result of women reinvestment of 90 cents of every additional dollar of income in “human resources”. In the U.S. and Europe, women are recognized for their higher level of innovation and an analysis from 350 micro finance institutions across 70 countries indicated that lending to women have lower write-offs and lower portfolio-at-risk. In the ASEAN Regional Entrepreneurship Report of 2015-2016 among the 627M total population, 61.3M or 9.8% are women entrepreneurs.

The forum opened my eyes to various initiatives in the ASEAN perspective. Brunei has its action plan on women, Cambodia, a five year strategic plan for gender equality and women’s empowerment 2014-2018, Indonesia, a roadmap to accelerate achievement of the MDGs. In Lao PDR there is a national strategy for advancement of women 2006-2010, Malaysia the national policy on women, Myanmar, a national strategy action plan for the advancement of women 2013-2022, Thailand, the national development plan for women 2012-2016 and Vietnam, a national strategy on gender equality for 2011-2020.

In the Philippines, we have R.A. 9710 or Magna Carta of Women Act of 2009 that paves way for equal access to credit and capital as well as employment opportunities and R. A. 7192 or the Women in Development and Nation Building Act which states that in all contractual situations where married men have the capacity to act, married women shall have equal rights. As a matter of fact, in 2015 and 2016, the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap report ranked the Philippines as the only Asian country to beat other economically advanced country closing the 78% or the total gender gap. In all government agencies, there is a Gender Awareness and Development budget that requires 5% of their budget to go to gender-related activities and for 30% of official development assistance and soft loans to be spent for GAD projects.

As I have previously shared, the Development Bank of the Philippines has adopted a strategy of investing with a gender lens through its pioneering Inclusive Lending for Aspiring Women Program (ILAW). The ILAW initiative has fostered the growth and diversification of women enterprises and entrepreneurs. This is initially through an increased access to finance via program participation and subsequently an improved market and supply-chain linkages with the assistance of and access to a network of top women business leaders and experts.

ILAW initially started from our observation that in the micro enterprise sphere, over 90% of proponents are women or “nanays”. However, we observed that the graduation from micro to small enterprise needed some push. Luckily we found inspiration from the leadership of Women’s Business Council, specifically Ma. Aurora “Boots” Garcia and Pacita “Chit” Juan. In true development by partnership mode, we conceived and put into motion the seeds for the ILAW program.

To back up the program’s social impact claim, the ILAW Program targets a sub-sector generally perceived to be as “risky” and “pre-bankable”, enterprises that are women-owned, managed, and/or controllled. Using a gender lens for financing, we aimed to help remove barriers facing small women entrepreneurs in the Philippines. This likewise demonstrates DBP’s concrete support to women empowerment and gender equality. Today, ILAW has supported 101 proponents with P713M worth of loan approvals all over the country. We join hands with AWEN (ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network) in empowering the passion in every woman across the world to opening more opportunities for them, in helping them fix challenges they face while doing business and in making them globally competitive and successful. As DBP is now under the leadership of a seasoned woman banker, President and CEO Cecile Borromeo, we expect the ILAW program to receive further boost and refinements so that it is more responsive to the needs of women-led businesses. #

(Benel D. Lagua is Executive Vice President at the Development Bank of the Philippines. He is an active FINEX member and a long time advocate of risk-based lending for SMEs. The views expressed herein are his own and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of his office as well as FINEX.)

Forecast and prediction

Manila Times(FINEX FILES)
January 05, 2018

Forecast and prediction

'Forecasts may tell you a great deal about the forecaster; they tell you nothing about the future.'Warren Buffett

People often ask me – “What’s going to be the price of bitcoin at the end on 2018”. Without any statistical basis, my unremitting retort is – “I don’t know”.

Golden FINEX rising
J. Albert GamboaBy J. Albert Gamboa

January 5, 2018

Golden FINEX rising

1968 was the year that changed the world, according to Time magazine. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and US presidential candidate Robert Kennedy were assassinated. A youth rebellion paralyzed France and students took over Columbia University in New York. Czechoslovakia tasted freedom for a brief moment in the Prague Spring; Mexico City hosted the Olympics; and the Tet Offensive became the turning point of the Vietnam War.

The Philippine Basketball Association will not die
Zoilo By: Zoilo "Bingo" P. Dejaresco III

January 3, 2018

The Philippine Basketball Association will not die

There were fears politics would put an end to the highly popular Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) tournaments a few weeks ago over a controversial trade involving franchise player Christian Standhardinger.

What to expect in 2018
Mr. George S. ChuaBy Mr. George S. Chua

MANILA BULLETIN (Business Option)
January 2, 2018

What to expect in 2018

My crystal ball tells me that the letter T will loom large in 2018, actually 4 of them, Taxes, Trans portation, Telecommunications, and Tourism. With the recent signing into law of the first phase of the tax reform package, we can see a mixed bag of results that will benefit certain sectors and be disadvantageous to others. Low income earners with an annual income of not more than R250,000 will no longer have to pay any taxes. That is certainly good news for them,

Ethics in media
By Mercedes B. SuleikBy Mercedes B. Suleik

MANILA BULETTIN (Business Option)
December 26, 2017

Ethics in media

The use that people make of the media of social communications can bring about great good or great evil. Today we move in an “information age” wherein all sorts of images, messages, perceptions, and ideas assault our senses every day. Not only is media able to influence society, but they can actually propose ideas and models of behavior that impinge on the whole world.

A Christmas Message
By Dr. Conchita L. ManabatBy Dr. Conchita L. Manabat

December 22, 2017

A Christmas Message

Christmas is one day in a year where most Filipinos take the time and effort to prepare. To some, the preparation commences once the “ber” months start. And of course, there is the usual last minute rush to gear up for it.