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Author: e-MFP
Like many major microfinance markets, the Philippines microfinance sector is suffering from the twin threats of a public health emergency and the mitigation response which entails economic shutdown, both of which disproportionately impact vulnerable population segments and the financial providers that serve them. As part of our efforts to understand the impact of the pandemic on our partners, e-MFP reached out to Alalay sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI), a good and long-time friend of e-MFP, having been a winner and finalist of the European Microfinance Award on multiple occasions. Via an email exchange, ASKI brought us up to speed on the situation on the ground which has greatly affected the whole community including the microentrepreneur clients of ASKI.

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Author: Daniel Rozas - Sam Mendelson
In our first piece in this series "Keeping the Patient Alive - Adapting Crisis Rubrics for a Covid World", we introduced the analogy of the emergency room doctors trying to treat a critically ill patient - a financial services provider (FSP), its staff and clients in lockdown or socially distancing, unable to travel and with incomes collapsing, health expenditures increasing, and some sick or dying. Repayments are close to impossible, and new loan applications are flat. But operational expenses continue, and it’s a race against the clock. In short, this patient is critical. To continue the analogy, ensuring the reciprocal trust and confidence of staff and clients and investors is like treating a patient’s organs, with interventions from pharmacology to surgery to transplant. We’ll get to that, though. For now, the challenges need triage. The patient can’t breathe, so she cannot oxygenate and circulate her blood. This, to come back to our institution, is the critical need for liquidity.