Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Jan 15 17, 7:38 am

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Indian ‘loan sharks’ face crackdown in PH

by | News

Jan. 15, 17 | 7:38 am

The Philippine government will crack down on the estimated 50,000 Indian nationals engaged in what is being described as “loan shark” activities that prey mainly on struggling and small-time Filipino entrepreneurs such as market vendors and store owners.

In a cabinet meeting last week, President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte ordered the crackdown including the investigation for tax evasion, Gulf Today quoted Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre of the Department of Justice as saying.

The Indians are called such after the old name of “Bombay,” now called Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra state on the Indian west coast where most of the Indian businessmen have originated, the report said.

According to Aguirre, the Indians have been operating without a government permit as he quoted Duterte as saying he pities small Filipino businessmen borrowing money at high interest rates in a scheme more popularly known as “5-6.”

Aguirre reportedly explained that under the scheme, Indians charge 20 percent interest per month on the loans.

He said a borrower is to pay back a $100 loan with a $20 interest per month collected on a daily basis and thus, the name “5-6.”

“It’s not illegal (to charge high interest rates), but that’s unconscionable and we cannot accept that kind of interest anymore,” Aguirre was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Secretary Perfecto Yasay of the Department of Foreign Affairs revealed that he already contacted the Indian embassy in Manila to inform its officials on Duterte’s order.

However, the militant labor group “Partido ng Manggagawa” (PM or Workers Party), warned that killing the “5-6” scheme without an alternative program would push the poor, particularly the ordinary workers, to the black market or illegal trades.

The PM had reportedly cited the urgent need to first put in place a system like creating a national bank or a national lending program catering to the nation’s poor.

“Without this needed replacement, the government will only push the system further into the black market where more notorious financial sharks operate,” the PM was quoted as saying by Gulf Today.

It reportedly pointed out poor Filipinos are not welcome in commercial banks which impose stringent requirements like collateral for a loan.

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 1 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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