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Gov't to legalize '5-6' lending scheme?

MAKATI CITY — The government is finalizing the guidelines to formalize the ‘5-6’ lending scheme and is set to release the document by March, according to Federation of Indian Chambers and Commerce (Philippines) Inc. (FICCI) President Rex Daryanani.


Daryanani said the Department of Trade and Industry, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Small Business Corp., Department of Justice, Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and the Philippine National Police are crafting the guidelines.


Daryanani mentioned that he already met with President Rodrigo Duterte to explain the system used by ‘5-6’ lenders, a number of whom are Indians, and “appealed to him to legalize the money lenders”.


“In the olden days, you borrow five (pesos), then you pay six (pesos). That happened in a span of one week. That’s why it’s called ‘5-6’. It’s 20 percent interest rate,” he explained.


“That doesn’t happen now,” he stressed.


Under the present arrangement, the amount borrowed is payable in 60 to 120 days with a cumulative interest rate of 20 percent.


He cited that if one borrows P10,000, he will pay P12,000 in four months, in effect paying the lender P100 per day.


“That’s an effective rate of 5 percent per month,” Daryanani pointed out.


He noted that the ‘5-6’ lending scheme is attractive to micro borrowers as it does not require any document and does not give any penalty for late payment.


“No documents. It’s trust. Lenders give consideration if a borrower can’t pay on that day. No interest, no penalty if they can’t pay for that day,” he explained.


“If you talk about pro-poor, if you talk about poverty alleviation, with all due respect, these guys are helping the Filipinos.”


Moreover, Daryanani said the initial guidelines to formalize the money lenders include getting a permit for their lending business with a minimum capital of P1.0 million.


To acquire a lending permit, one shall have at least P1.0 million in capital.


The lenders shall also issue receipts and pay taxes to the government.


Daryanani estimated that 25,000 to 30,000 money lenders are engaged in the scheme. If a lender has an initial capital of P1.0 million, some P30 billion would be circulating in the market for this lending model, he said.

Published in Business

Peso sinks to a new low in 16 years

(Photo from


MAKATI CITY  ̶ ̶  The Philippine peso in September suffered the largest monthly loss in 16 years as concerns grew that President Rodrigo Duterte's policies may keep driving foreign investors out of the country.


The peso on Friday, September 30, fell 0.4 percent to close at 48.50 per dollar, the weakest since September 2009.


The loss extended the currency's September slump to 4 percent, the largest monthly depreciation since October 2000.


The Philippine peso continued its downward path against the US dollar Friday but a central bank official said there is nothing unusual in this, given the uncertainties in the global economy.


The peso finished at 48.33 against the greenback Thursday and declined further to 48.49 in the morning session Friday.


Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo, however, told reporters that the peso’s recent performance is not unique and is the norm in the region.


”In fact, there are more of those that weakened than strengthened,” he said.


Guinigundo said what is important is that the country’s fundamentals remain strong and will continue to back the local unit.


”The macroeconomic fundamentals haven't changed,” he said.


The central bank’s peso assumption for this year is a range of 45 to 48.


Guinigundo said this range will be reviewed along with the assumption for the balance of payment (BOP) position, current account position and other economic assumptions in November.

Foreign selling in the local bourse due to combination of factors resulted last Monday, September 26, in the weakest close of the Philippine peso since September 2009 and another drop in the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi).


The local unit finished the week's first trading day at P48.25, the weakest after the P48.335 in September 15, 2009.


Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. attributed the peso's performance to expectations for the eventual increase in the Federal Reserve rates.


"The peso's movement reflected the continuing uncertainty about the US Fed's next policy action, just like the other regional currencies, plus strong foreign exchange demand for fixing and corporate requirements," Tetangco said.


BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said “the country’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals have never changed.


”They have remained stable and robust. But because of perceived risks which may not really be justified and continuing uncertainty about the unknown in the calculus of foreign exchange traders, they have embraced negative sentiment rather than focus on fundamentals,” he said.


”No even the real interest rate differentials which are rather manageable could justify the sharp fall of the peso except the negative perception of the market,” he added.


The local unit finished on September 26, Monday, at 48.25, the second weakest after the 48.33 in September 15, 2009.


Monetary officials and economists alike are one in saying that anticipations for the eventual increase in the Federal Reserve key rates is the primary reason for the volatilities in Asian financial markets to date.


But other factors such as this week’s meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Algeria and the first official presidential debate in the US are contributing to the volatilities.

ING Bank Manila senior economist Joey Cuyegkeng said the local unit's performance was in line with regional currencies due to policy rate decisions of the European Central Bank (ECB), the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan (BOJ), among others.


He said the Philippine peso was currently underperforming against its regional peers due to local factors such as expected drop in the country's current account surplus, with some even considering a deficit.


"If this materializes, then we would be back to a twin deficit environment that plagued the economy early last decade," he said.


Cuyegkeng, however, believes that "the other component of structural inflows would still offset a larger trade deficit."


"We are more positive and expect a current account surplus but at a more modest level," he said.


"In addition, unlike early last decade, the fiscal deficit now and the programmed deficit would likely remain below the fiscal deficit (to GDP ratio) that was seen early last decade," he said.


The economist said non-economic factors were also affecting the domestic financial market but pointed out that "economic fundamentals remain favorable."


"Investors have priced in a lot of positives about the economy and are now on the lookout for risks that could disappoint expectations," he added.


The peso's weakness showed early in the trading after opening at P48.07 from P47.86 Friday last week.


It traded between P48.26 and P48.05, bringing the average to P48.21.


Volume of trade reached $758.5 million, higher than the $590.5 million at the end of last week.


A trader said the scheduled meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members in Algeria later this week as well as the first official presidential debate in the US early Tuesday (Manila time) also affected both the peso and the equities market.


"On this line, whoever will be favored by US voters will affect the business climate moving forward," the trader said.


The trader expects the peso to trade between P48.20 and P48.40 Tuesday.


A BPI trader said the bank expects the peso to end 2016 at P49.02 on Fed factor, among others.


The PSEi on Monday was affected by the 23rd week of foreign selling, thus, the 1.18 percent or 91.14 points drop in the index to 7,632.46 points.


The All Shares index and all the sectoral indices also ended the day on the red, with the All Shares shedding 1.09 percent or 50.11 points to 4,536.60 points.


Among the sectoral indices, the Property posted the biggest decline with 1.74 percent followed by the Services, 1.72 percent; Financial, 1.43 percent; Mining and Oil, 1.06 percent; Holding Firms, one percent; and Industrial, 0.13 percent.


Volume of trade reached 1.29 billion amounting to P7.2 billion.


Losers led gainers at 123 to 62 while 45 were unchanged.


Published in Business


Special to Philippines Today


WORLD BOXING ICON Manny Pacquiao during his morning workout in Griffith Park in Los Angeles (Wendell Rupert Alinea)


LOS ANGELES, California (PhilAmPress) ― There is no stopping the fight of world boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and American champion Timothy Bradley on April 9at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.


This as Pacquiao, a two-term congressman and a strong contender for senator in the May 9 elections in the Philippines, flew to Los Angeles with his team and started to train for the fight ignoring calls for him to postpone his fight as the coverage of the bout might give him undue exposure that could possibly violate the election laws in his country.


And in his early days of training, Pacquiao's team asked Bradley to watch out for a sharp fighter in the Filipino who is the only person to own a world record of holding eight division championship belts.


Pacquiao has slowly but surely been regaining his punching power that fell 38 of his 65 rivals in a 20-year boxing career.


And if the assessment of chief trainer Freddie Roach will hold true, the eight-division champion is only three weeks away from completely recapturing his knockout punch. 


"I saw it with my own eyes last Saturday that Manny really still has what it takes to knock out an opponent like he had been doing before," the 56-year-old Hall of Fame guru said Monday during a lull in a scheduled workout at the Wild Card  Gym in the heart of Hollywood here.


Roach was referring to the sparring session held before Team Pacquiao left for the United States last Saturday in General Santos City camp where, according to him, the fighting Congressman from Sarangani punished his sparring partners -- Canadian-Congolese Ghislain Maduma and American Lydell Rhodes for 10 rounds with strong combinations that nearly dropped both to the canvas.


"Why,  Manny even bloodied Lydell's lip that I had to cut short the skirmish from what was scheduled five rounds to four," Roach told this writer with a wide grin. "I set  a 10-round sparring session and to complete that, I had to make Maduma's five rounds to six."


"That was the best 10-round sparring I've seen from Manny in years," the seven-time Trainer of the Year of the Boxing Writers Association of America attested. 


After Monday's roadwork at the hilly Griffith Park in the morning and punching the mitts in the afternoon, Pacquiao, likewise, submitted himself to voluntary drug testing with representatives of the Voluntary Anti Doping Agency (VADA) held at his mansion.  


The sparring side of the build up program resumes Tuesday with Pacquiao engaging Rhodes,Maduma and possibly Frankie Gomez and Jose Ramirez joining the duo in preparing him for his third showdown with Bradley at the posh MGM Grand Arena.


"I'll give him a little rest with only eight rounds of against the four in the next tdhree days of sparring ," Roach bared. "Manny looks like he's still suffering from jet lag and needs some respite after that long trip from Manila." 


Next week, Roach, who has been very vocal in his desire that his pupil knocks out Bradley, added that sparring will be for 10 rounds before raising the frequency to 12 rounds a week before proceeding to Las Vegas.  

Published in Sports

Pia returning to Manila in April?

Miss Universe denies dating special someone




NEW YORK/MANILA (via PhilAmPress) ― Don’t look now but MissUniverse Pia Wurtzbach will be in Manila again soon, presumably next month.


The Filipino-German beauty made the revelation during her live Facebook chat with fans over the weekend.


Pia did not disclose any specific date of her second visit to Manila since winning the beauty pageant.


There is speculation, however, that she is expected to return for the grand coronation night of the 2016 Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City on April 17.


In the same 25-minute Facebook chat which gained some 400,000 viewers, Pia denied rumors that she is exclusively dating someone.


"No. There's no specific someone in my life. This is the specific someone. This is the priority," said Pia as she showed the Miss Universe sash to the fans who were viewing her Faceboook live feed.


Speculations surfaced that she was dating someone after several photos and clips of her with Dr. Mikhail Varshavski surfaced on the Internet.


Two weeks ago, a video showing the duo at the gym went viral, adding fuel to the gossip, Philippine Star reported.


In a video posted by Beauty Pageant & Fashion Lifestyle Events on February 27, Pia was asked, "How do you feel?" to which she answered, "I need a doctor."


Later, Dr. Mike was also seen in the short clip that was shot in a gym, Rappler reported.

Dr. Mike later claimed that he and Pia are now dating. Pia was mum on the claim, however, as of this writing.


According to the report, Pia had wanted to become a doctor. "She says she wanted to be a doctor until she realized she's deathly afraid of the sight of blood, so she decided to win #MissUniverse instead #touché #welldone #stoneheartday @piawurtzbach," Dr. Mike wrote on Instagram photo with Pia.


According to the report, Dr. Mike, dubbed by People Magazine as “sexiest doctor alive," met the 26-year-old beauty queen from Cagayan de Oro City  last month in a small gathering in New York.


With 1 million followers on Instagram, Dr. Mike uses his social media accounts to promote a healthy lifestyle. Born in Russia, Dr. Mike has been a medical resident in New Jersey for two years.


Aside from answering some questions from the fans, Pia, a culinary arts graduate, revealed at the Facebook live chat that she will prepare fried lumpia with sweet and sour sauce for the fans next week.


"I am going back home soon, i can't reveal when [though]," she said. "I think you guys will know when I am going back home," she added.


She was asked if she missed anything about her home country and she answered: "I haven’t had any Filipino food cravings, matagal na akong hindi kumakain ng kanin."


"But I miss (speaking) beki slang, yung nagta tagalog," she said.


During her first visit to the Philippines, Pia had a week-long homecoming tour which included visits to Malacanang and Congress.


After a week, Pia returned to the United States and was mobbed by fans upon her arrival at the San Francisco International Airport.


From the airport, she motored to the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California before going back to New York.


In Santa Clara, Pia worked as a special correspondent for the syndicated entertainment newsmagazine show “Inside Edition” covering the "Super Bowl 50" with the show’s regular correspondent Megan Alexander.


Top network ABS-CBN covered Pia's arrival in San Francisco reporting that the Filipina-German beauty queen was given a warm welcome by fans at the airport.


Fans literally mobbed Pia as they tried to get a glimpse of her who still looked fabulous after a 12-hour flight from Manila.


On television reports monitored in Manila, even police officers were seen taking photos with Pia.


The Filipina beauty queen arrived in San Francisco via Philippine Airlines Flight PR-104 at around 10 pm.



Jonas Gaffud, Pia's Miss Universe trainer, sent her off at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The mediamen were barred from interviewing her at the airport because they needed prior approval from the Miss Universe Organization (MUO).

Published in Entertainment

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