MAY 2, 2013

NR # 3091

LEAP pushed for business growth and survival
Poor people who have good business acumen or who lack the needed capital to start or expand their small businesses no longer need to borrow money from usurious moneylenders. A bill, which has been filed at the House of Representatives, seeks to establish an assistance program designed to enhance the capability and productivity of individuals in livelihood activities. House Bill 1328 aims to establish the Livelihood Enhancement Assistance Program or LEAP and which shall be under the supervision of the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC). Rep. Rodante Marcoleta (Party-list, ALAGAD) said the measure aims to improve the living conditions of the poor as the program would benefit not only the unemployed, low salaried worker but also individuals already engaged in livelihood activities. “LEAP is different from other livelihood programs because of its minimum requirements unlike agricultural loans being handled by rural banks and other financial institutions which require the filing up of voluminous documents,” Marcoleta, author of the bill said. One of the objectives of LEAP is to extend loans to indigent individuals or organizations for the establishment of small-scale livelihood and agricultural production. Another is to help in the establishment of small livelihood enterprises such as sari-sari stores, rural transportation such as jeepneys, tricycles or pedicabs, canteens, sale of household wares or ready-to-wear apparels or such other livelihood projects which can be funded from small loans. Low-salaried employees who have viable plans for modest livelihood projects can also avail of financial assistance from LEAP to supplement their meager salaries. Marcoleta said LEAP is envisioned to promote unity among the people of the community by encouraging them to work together in community-endeavored livelihood projects, among others. Under the bill, the amount of loans granted under the LEAP shall range from P10,000 for individuals and P100,000 for organizations which shall be payable from two to 10 years at the rate of five percent interest per annum. The advocate of LEAP said the bill which is pending at the Committee on Poverty Alleviation will be re-filed in the next Congress. (30) mvip

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