ASA completes PH’s first gender bond issuance, raises P5B
MANILA -ASA Philippines Foundation, a leading non-government microfinance organization, made history on Wednesday after successfully completing the country’s first ever gender-themed bond issuance.
Led by its president and CEO, Kamrul H. Tarafder, ASA Philippines raised P5 billion during the landmark issuance. The proceeds will be deployed for loans to qualified women micro-entrepreneurs.
The debt issuance was made under the social bond framework of the Securities and Exchange Commission. This was designed to support social projects for women in marginalized communities, those with disabilities, migrants and undereducated populations, among others.
Tarafder said the bond issuance marks a new milestone after the establishment of the organization nearly two decades ago.
“Today, ASA Philippines is a neighborhood name from the northernmost part of the country, in Itbayat, Batanes, to the southernmost part, in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi, and in between. ASA is working for the poor,” he said.
Data from ASA Philippines showed a gross loan portfolio of P34.95 billion and 2.1 million clients as of September last year.
The bond sale was jointly arranged by BDO Capital & Investment Corp. and state-run Land Bank of the Philippines.
“We at Landbank welcome this timely opportunity to advance gender equality and women empowerment by boosting ASA’s efforts in extending financial support to marginalized and underserved sectors,” Landbank CEO Lynette Ortiz said during the event.
“Landbank has been supportive of ASA’s expansion sine 2014 and we affirm our continued support to your organization toward our unified goal of sustainable development for all,” she added.
BDO Capital president Eduardo Francisco said ASA Philippines’ expansion efforts were commendable.
“They braved the waters and despite the the challenging environment they proceeded with the bond issuance,” he said.
Francisco said the bond issuance was so far the largest to be conducted by an individual microfinance organization.
“It’s the first of its kind and hopefully more will follow,” he said.
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