President's Message
Atty. Benedicta Du-Baladad Message from the President:

Benedicta Du-Baladad

To FINEX members and friends,

November 2017 Issue

We are now on the final stretch of 2017. This year has been one of the busiest and exciting for both FINEX and the country.

Earlier this month, our country was once again placed in the limelight as we hosted this year’s ASEAN Summit. The summit provided us to showcase what our country can share to the world and the creativity of the Filipino people. Indeed, the recent hosting of the ASEAN summit placed our country

Read More
2017 Year-Round Corporate Sponsors




Print PDF
Mr. Benel D. LaguaBy Mr. Benel D. Lagua
September 8, 2017


FINEX Files is a rotating column of members of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines appearing every Friday in Manila Times, business column section.

“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.”

- Hillary Clinton

In the recently held forum on “Mainstreaming ASEAN Women in trade of goods and services toward AEC 2025”, this writer felt very honoured to be one of the chosen few men to grace the event and be given the opportunity to share contributions at work for women in the micro, small and medium enterprises.

The administration of more competent women owners or managers have generally resulted to higher returns in investment, in sales and in equity. Three of those ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs inspiration cited in the forum are Malaysian Hooi Ling Tan, co–founder of Grab which is now valued at $3B, Indonesian Nabilah Alsagoff, founder of Doku, an online payments firm in Indonesia and our very own Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, the co-founder of Rags2Riches, a social enterprise that helps women to directly access consumers and retailers with their unique “upcycled” products.

However, there are still barriers in the economic participation of women. Some of these are capacity to take full advantage of socioeconomic opportunities and limited access to resources such as technology, finance, factors of production, information or government support. Women have to confront their control over resources including the freedom of decision making and accountability. One of the top exit reasons from an entrepreneurial venture by women is personal in nature, specifically pertaining to balancing work and family life, defying social expectations and coping with the fear of failure. It cannot be denied that indeed gender is a factor.

Based on a study by the International Labour Organization, the global female labour participation rate has decreased from 52.4% to 49.6% between 1995 and 2015. The gender gap has declined only marginally. Globally, 37% of business establishments are owned by women based on IFC Banking on Women 2013. That means 224 Million women contribute in the global economy of which 126 Million women are in business, a result of women reinvestment of 90 cents of every additional dollar of income in “human resources”. In the U.S. and Europe, women are recognized for their higher level of innovation and an analysis from 350 micro finance institutions across 70 countries indicated that lending to women have lower write-offs and lower portfolio-at-risk. In the ASEAN Regional Entrepreneurship Report of 2015-2016 among the 627M total population, 61.3M or 9.8% are women entrepreneurs.

The forum opened my eyes to various initiatives in the ASEAN perspective. Brunei has its action plan on women, Cambodia, a five year strategic plan for gender equality and women’s empowerment 2014-2018, Indonesia, a roadmap to accelerate achievement of the MDGs. In Lao PDR there is a national strategy for advancement of women 2006-2010, Malaysia the national policy on women, Myanmar, a national strategy action plan for the advancement of women 2013-2022, Thailand, the national development plan for women 2012-2016 and Vietnam, a national strategy on gender equality for 2011-2020.

In the Philippines, we have R.A. 9710 or Magna Carta of Women Act of 2009 that paves way for equal access to credit and capital as well as employment opportunities and R. A. 7192 or the Women in Development and Nation Building Act which states that in all contractual situations where married men have the capacity to act, married women shall have equal rights. As a matter of fact, in 2015 and 2016, the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap report ranked the Philippines as the only Asian country to beat other economically advanced country closing the 78% or the total gender gap. In all government agencies, there is a Gender Awareness and Development budget that requires 5% of their budget to go to gender-related activities and for 30% of official development assistance and soft loans to be spent for GAD projects.

As I have previously shared, the Development Bank of the Philippines has adopted a strategy of investing with a gender lens through its pioneering Inclusive Lending for Aspiring Women Program (ILAW). The ILAW initiative has fostered the growth and diversification of women enterprises and entrepreneurs. This is initially through an increased access to finance via program participation and subsequently an improved market and supply-chain linkages with the assistance of and access to a network of top women business leaders and experts.

ILAW initially started from our observation that in the micro enterprise sphere, over 90% of proponents are women or “nanays”. However, we observed that the graduation from micro to small enterprise needed some push. Luckily we found inspiration from the leadership of Women’s Business Council, specifically Ma. Aurora “Boots” Garcia and Pacita “Chit” Juan. In true development by partnership mode, we conceived and put into motion the seeds for the ILAW program.

To back up the program’s social impact claim, the ILAW Program targets a sub-sector generally perceived to be as “risky” and “pre-bankable”, enterprises that are women-owned, managed, and/or controllled. Using a gender lens for financing, we aimed to help remove barriers facing small women entrepreneurs in the Philippines. This likewise demonstrates DBP’s concrete support to women empowerment and gender equality. Today, ILAW has supported 101 proponents with P713M worth of loan approvals all over the country. We join hands with AWEN (ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network) in empowering the passion in every woman across the world to opening more opportunities for them, in helping them fix challenges they face while doing business and in making them globally competitive and successful. As DBP is now under the leadership of a seasoned woman banker, President and CEO Cecile Borromeo, we expect the ILAW program to receive further boost and refinements so that it is more responsive to the needs of women-led businesses. #

(Benel D. Lagua is Executive Vice President at the Development Bank of the Philippines. He is an active FINEX member and a long time advocate of risk-based lending for SMEs. The views expressed herein are his own and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of his office as well as FINEX.)

Managing Millenials
Mr. Ronald S. GosecoBy Ronald S. Goseco

December 14, 2017

Managing Millenials

I was recently asked by our principal how different it is to manage today’s millenials as compared to a similar group of individuals twenty years ago. They asked me this since I previously managed auto dealerships twenty years ago with individuals with the same age profile.

Will RP Fit in the Integrated ASEAN Mold?
Zoilo By: Zoilo "Bingo" P. Dejaresco III

December 13, 2017

Will RP Fit in the Integrated ASEAN Mold?

THERE HAVE BEEN REAL TRIUMPHS during the ASEAN Meeting in Manila. Sometimes, Filipinos pinch themselves if these are indeed sustainable?

The ASEAN with 600 million people and with the highest regional GDP growth rate-necessarily- attracts many seller-nations and investors. But with the ASEAN integration- with tariffs down among the ASEAN nations- this would ensure ASEAN should be for ASEANs, first.

Asian economic integration
By Mercedes B. SuleikBy Mercedes B. Suleik

Business Mirror (FINEX Free Enterprise)
December 05, 2017

Asian economic integration

On October 25 the Asian Development Bank (ADB) released a report on Asian Economic Integration and commented on the lessons learned after the Asian financial crisis 20 years ago. It stated that growing trade and investment linkages in Asia and the Pacific have helped to improve the region’s economic resilience to uncertainties in the global economic environment. Asia’s intraregional trade rose in 2016 and acted as a buffer against headwinds from uncertainties in global trade and policy. Subregional trade integration was strongest in East Asia, followed by Southeast Asia and Central Asia.

Flor G. TarrielaBy Flor G. Tarriela

Business World (FINEX Folio)
November 24, 2017


Philippine Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 6.9% in the 3rd quarter but agriculture grew at a slower pace at 2.5% vs 3.0% in 3rd quarter 2016. Still, agriculture showed better growth of 4.6% YTD 2017 vs -1.3% in 2016.

Mr. George S. ChuaBy Mr. George S. Chua

BUSINESS MIRROR (Free Enterprise)
November 22, 2017


A number of months ago, I saw a Bloomberg interview of two young enthusiastic gentlemen who were the co-country directors of this relatively new multinational company called Transportify. As I was listening to the interview of Noel Abelardo and Paulo Bengson, of what Transportify was all about, I thought it was a great idea. The easiest way to explain it is if you have Uber and Grab as an app to transport passengers, you have Transportify to transport goods and packages.

The Importance of Development Finance
Mr. Benel D. LaguaManila Bulletin
MANILA BULLETIN (Business Option)
October 30, 2017

The Importance of Development Finance

Access to finance is always a daunting topic as it addresses two basic issues. Financial exclusion occurs when those denied access have economic and social return on investment better than those with regular access. The second issue is the response to concerns of inequality and the need for better redistribution of wealth.