APPEND PARTY-LIST: The Champion of Micro-Entrepreneurial Filipino families
The Party-List System Act (Republic Act No. 7941) was signed into law on March 3, 1995. It mandated that “the state shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system.”
One of the established purposes of APPEND is “to take such steps, personal or written appeals, public meetings or otherwise as may from time to time be deemed expedient in the proposing enactment or change in legislation, government policies and other similar advocacy work for the improvement of basic services and availability of social and financial opportunities to the small, cottage scale and micro-entrepreneurial sectors as well as other poor and disadvantaged sectors of the Filipino society.”
The APPEND Board made a bold decision in 2012 to enter into a national electoral process through APPEND Party-list representing the micro-enterprise and microfinance sector in the Philippines.
“The motivation of APPEND to enter into government legislation is to create and amend laws that will raise the standard of living of all microentrePinoys in the country, protect their rights to enable them grow and prosper. APPEND also believes that poverty reduction is not a monopoly hence as an alliance of microfinance NGOs , it has to strengthen organizations with microfinance operations for the poor. These legitimate microfinance NGOs have been assisting the poor get out of poverty for the past 15 to 35 year.” (Angel de Leon)
The APPEND Party-List won one seat during the May 2013 election. The APPEND party-list Congressman, Atty. Pablo R. Nava III, was assigned to write the substitute Bill reconciling the various versions of the Bill in the House. These were the reconciled version of Senate Bill 2752, entitled “An Act Strengthening Nongovernment Organizations (NGOs) Engaged in Microfinance Activities for the Poor” and House Bill 5217, entitled “An Act Governing the Accreditation of Micro-Enterprise Development Institutions.”
At the Senate, Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” A. Aquino IV championed the microfinance NGOs bill. The microfinance NGO members of the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. have also made efforts to have the bill discussed and deliberated at the Senate. The new law was passed after the House of Representatives and the Senate ratified the said bill last September 14, 2015.
On November 3, 2015, the Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III signed the Republic Act 10693 – An Act Strengthening Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) Engaged in Microfinance Operations for the Poor, otherwise known as the “Microfinance NGOs Act.”
As defined in the Act, a Microfinance NGO provides the poor direct access to reasonable and affordable financial products and related programs and services, business development opportunities such as leadership training and entrepreneurial skills enhancement, and human development services to help the poor achieve a level of sustainability and empowerment.
The most important provision in the Act is a duly registered and accredited Microfinance NGO shall pay a two percent (2%) tax based on its gross receipts from microfinance operations in lieu of all national taxes. Before the MF NGOs law, all micro-finance NGOs are required to pay 5% or 12% Value added tax and all other national taxes depending on the interpretations of various directors of the tax government agency.
On Tuesday, August 16, 2016 the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Microfinance NGOs Act was signed in a ceremony held at Sala de Sesiones, Ayuntamiento de Manila, in Intramuros.
In addition to the Microfinance NGOs Act, APPEND Party-List representative Congressman Pablo R. Nava III has authored the following bills:
a) House Bill 3529, An Act granting tax amnesty to non-stock, non-profit organizations and corporations engaged in microfinance – now pending with the Committee on Ways and Means;
b) House Bill 354, An Act amending section 470(a) of Republic Act 7160 otherwise known as the ‘Local Government Code of 1991, thereby requiring the concurrence of the Sangguniang Bayan concerned with the list of recommendees of the governor or mayor, to be submitted to the Secretary of Finance for the position of treasurer – now pending with the Committee on Local Government;
c) House Bill 5861, An Act to amend Article Three Hundred and Sixty-five of Act No. 3815 as amended, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code, by providing higher penalty when the offended party is riding on and/ or with bicycle along Bike Lane duly established by the national government and/ or local government unit where such bike lane is located – now pending with the Committee on Revision of Laws.
Altogether the APPEND Party-list Representative has filed 52 bills, out of which four were passed into laws. The other three laws that he co-authored are.
The vision of APPEND is to introduce more laws in the Philippines that will further improve the performance of all micro-finance NGOs in the Philippines.
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