East Bank Road, is one of the Puroks of Barangay San Andres, Cainta. Households living on East Bank Road near the Pasig River are informal settlers. In 2012, in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy, East Bank Road under the jurisdiction of Barangay San Andres was under water for 2-3 months because of their exposure to floods and proximity to the Pasig River. Residents claimed that 60% of all residential houses near the Pasig River were flooded because waters cannot subside immediately. 60% of families were evacuated to the Anak Pawis Covered Court, school and nearby churches in East Bank Road. The Office of the Municipal Social Welfare conducted surveys with families evacuated at the different government and private entities in relation to their security that includes livelihood and savings. CRS also conducted random baseline surveys and profiling in the Barangay, particularly in East Bank Road, Floodway and part of the questionnaire asked if the household have savings for emergencies. Most respondents answered no savings, and even when they did have some, it has always been taken out due to basic needs of the family. It showed that only 1-2% of the 60% evacuees have savings. The remaining 58% resorted to borrowing money from Bombay with a 5-6% interest rate. They borrowed money for food, medicine, education of their children and capital for an investment. Some said, they borrow money from their relatives with 5-10% interest.
Given this disaster situation, CRS designed an affordable savings program scheme called the Savings for Internal Lending Communities (SILC) for the poor and vulnerable households. It was programmed to run for 8-10 months; two months were designed for SILC group formation and training and the remaining months were designed for SILC group savings and share-out for the 1st cycle. A cycle was the number of months for savings agreed by the SILC Members. The SILC component was introduced to all 22 barangays covered by the Project SUCCESS, including Barangay San Andres. In partnership with the Diocese of Antipolo, they coordinated and presented the SILC component to the Barangay Council. The Council welcomed the initiative because they too agreed that most women in East Bank Road, Floodway do not have savings, that during emergencies, households don’t know where to run for assistance and it turned out that the Barangay is obliged to provide their daily sustenance during their stay at the Evacuation Center or Covered Courts as temporary shelters.
CRS provided resources for the SILC component. Project SUCCESS staff mobilized three (3) Field Agents (FA) from East Bank Road. They were trained on community approaches, SILC principles, partnership building and how to run the SILC Program. Mentoring and shadowing or coaching were also done by CRS to ensure that Field Agents were able to capture and roll out the SILC and, importantly, target women who will able to internalize the concept. The FAs were able to roll out the SILC Program to their target locations, organizing 6 SILC groups with 25 women as maximum number per SILC group under each Field Agent in different locations in East Bank Road, Floodway using a localized version of the SILC. This is to ensure that target women groups will grasp and understand the concepts. The orientation of SILC group per FA is done according to the schedules set by the interested women to be formed as SILC group. Once formed, they need to have a name of their SILC Group and choose among themselves who will compose the Management Committee of each SILC Group. A Chairperson, Treasurer who will be in-charge of the SILC Box, Money Counter and three Key Holders. CRS provided SILC Box to all organized SILC groups with paraphernalia like 3 ledger books, calculator and writing notes inside the SILC Box. It was worth noting that each SILC group formulated their own Constitution and By Laws (CBL) or policy as their document. SILC group Management Committee members undergone series of training on financial literacy, record keeping and facilitation skills. Monthly coaching and visitation to SILC Management Committee and FA were done by CRS to ensure that procedures and processes were installed and understood by the SILC Group members.
In fact, Aklan SILC Group in East Bank Road, Floodway was formed in the 3rd quarter of 2015 with 22 women members. Starting to save in the 4th quarter with approved minimum savings of Php 50.00 per week per member, after two months, they can have loans worth twice their savings with an interest rate of 5% payable in two months. The system of borrowing loans is scheduled to all Aklan SILC members until all members have availed loans, paid interest and been able to return the loaned amount in due time. The Aklan SILC Group also initiated that each member will bring one item of any recyclable material to every SILC saving meeting and at the end of every month, they sell it to their D2D Waste Collectors in their area. The proceeds will be added to their savings funds and it will be divided among them along with fines and interest during their shareout. The Aklan SILC group had their share out after 8 months and it was noted that the maximum amount received by each SILC member as dividend of their savings was Php 3,800. These are the penalties and proceeds from sales of recyclable materials they collected at every SILC saving meeting. The share-out of the Aklan SILC group happened in May 2016 and it was a good plan because they had something to spend for the enrollment of their children in June of 2016. At present, the Aklan SILC group is now in its 3rd cycle and will be having their share-out this December 2017. Their 4th cycle will start on January 2018.
CRS conducts regular monitoring during their SILC savings meeting to ensure that inquiries or concerns on SILC related will be addressed. Committee Chair on Livelihoods and Training of the Barangay is also part of the monitoring of the other SILC Groups formed in San Andres, Cainta.