ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Catholic diocese in Mindanao extends microcredit projects to help 23,000 low-income farmers

Wednesday, 5 October 2005

Davao (Fides Service) - Micro-loan projects launched by the Catholic diocese of Tagum in Mindanao southern Philippines to eliminate poverty and promote development of low-income rural communities are proving highly successful.
In fact the diocese intends to extend its management to double the number of benefiting farmers bringing it to 23,000 borrowers in Compostela Valley and Davao del Nort.
Fr Federico Mantica of the diocese of Tagum said the lending programme was patterned after the Grameen banking system started in 1976 by a young economics professor, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, when he discovered that poor women could break through poverty by taking tiny loans to start or expand tiny businesses. The diocese offers loans of a minimum of 3,000 to a maximum of 150,000. The applicant should also attend training course conducted by the parish before availing of the loan.
Fr Mantica underlined that Microcredit programmes not only offer assistance, they promote development and have a high percentage of success, over 98% .
Tagum diocese is one of three Catholic dioceses extending micro-lending programmes, the other two are Mati and Iligan City. The undertaking is backed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference as a form of the social assistance and services offered by diocesan Caritas offices.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 5/10/2005 righe 23 parole 245)