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Philippines named as a Global Leader in Financial Inclusion

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Philippines is once again named as one of the global leaders according to the newly released Global Microscope on the Enabling Environment for Financial Inclusion. The Report ranks the Philippines third in the world, tied with India, in terms of having a conducive environment for financial inclusion. The Philippines and India ranked highest among 10 Asian countries. Colombia and Peru tied for the number one spot.
The report recognized positive changes in the financial inclusion landscape of the Philippines since 2015. These include the signing into law of Republic Act No. 10693 or the Microfinance NGOs Act which aims to strengthen non-government organizations (NGOs) engaged in microfinance operations for the poor, and Republic Act No. 10846 which amends the Charter of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) to strengthen its institutional and governance framework.
The study also cited the revised reporting rules for cooperatives issued by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). According to the 2016 report, Colombia, Peru, India and the Philippines are the four strong leaders having performed consistently well across all indicators considered in the study. These include government support for financial inclusion; regulatory and supervisory capacity; regulations on credit, deposit, microinsurance, and branches and agents; requirements for non-regulated lenders; electronic payments; and existence of credit reporting systems, market conduct rules, and dispute resolution mechanisms for financial consumers. In particular, the four leaders stood out from the rest of the countries in terms of regulation of insurance for low income population, digital financial services, and consumer protection.
The report, which also provides global trends and recent challenges in financial inclusion, is prepared by The Economist Intelligence Unit. From 2009 to 2013, it focused on assessing the microfinance business environment of countries. In all these years, the Philippines was consistently ranked as having one of the best regulatory frameworks for microfinance.
Starting 2014, the Global Microscope evolved to assess the regulatory environment for financial inclusion across 55 countries.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.