03/29/2010, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Davao: cooperatives to free businesses and entrepreneurs from loan sharks

by Santosh Digal
The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Assumption Parish of Davao and entrepreneurs in the area. They help people to pursue entrepreneurial activities through the establishment of a common fund and loans at an interest rate of 1%.

Davao City (AsiaNews) - In the Philippines the problem of money lending affects the poor and small entrepreneurs, often forced to pay exorbitant sums of money to support their activities. For the past16 years Assumption multi - purpose cooperatives (Ampc) Davao helps people to combat money lending by granting loans at low interest rates, made possible by the creation of a common fund managed by companies. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Assumption Parish of Davao city and businesses in the district and so far includes about 142 members.  

"To keep my small restaurant running, I had to pay to approximately 20% of usurious interest on the loan each month - tells Evagellyn Lavosores, restaurateur - I earned virtually nothing." The woman says thanks to Ampc her and her family escaped the pressure of loan sharks and now have enough money for the future of their children.

In addition to lending money with interest of 1%, following Ampc helps entrepreneurs of the parish in choosing their investments and also enables the poor to get started in the business world.

Ruth Panero Ampc coordinator, says: "We help our members improve their economic conditions through an approach to business based on Gospel values." The woman says that employers contribute to a mutual fund according to their capabilities and divide dividends generated by the interest. To date capital Ampc has a value of approximately 25 thousand Euros. With this money the association is able to grant loans to those who want to open a business and who do not have the money to do so.

"We are delighted that Ampc involves entrepreneurs in the area - said Fr Elvera Felix, a priest of the parish - with their apostolate they give  the poor the opportunity to be part of the business world, thereby improving their living conditions. " "This - adds Fr Elvera - is one of the many faces of the mission of the Church. "

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