Duterte wants to talk with the Indian gov't on 5-6 lenders

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Davao City (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking an official talk with the Indian Government on '5-6' lenders in the Philippines, most of whom are allegedly Indian nationals or migrants.

In an interview Saturday evening, the President said while there is nothing wrong with money-lending businesses per se, the '5-6' lending scheme allegedly associated with Indians is disadvantageous to Filipinos.

"Okay naman yan magpahiram sila ng pera, but ang bagong style kasi nila, pahiramin nila ng pera yung pobreng Pilipino tapos pabilihan pa nila ng mga refrigerator, mga appliances. So doblado and kalbaryo ng mga Pilipino. If you do that, I will get angry," he said.

[Translation: It's okay for them to lend money, but their new style is they lend money to the poor Filipinos and then they make them buy refrigerators and other appliances. It becomes twice as hard for Filipinos.]

The President said he hopes to discuss the issue with the Indian government, and wants the talks to be direct and straight to the point.

He added that he will also be allocating ₱1 billion per region for lending purposes.

"I'm releasing almost in the coming days, 1 billion per region. Pahiram ko lang sa mga tao [I'll lend it to the people]," he said.

The '5-6' lending scheme offers borrowers high interest loans, but with fewer requirements and background checks. It is often used by small-scale business owners, who rely on it for capital.

The Duterte administration has been looking to crack down on the scheme due to its high interest rates and lack of permits.

In a Facebook post in January, Secretary Manny Piñol revealed the President had ordered the arrest and deportation of foreigners involved in '5-6' lending. He added, the President had instructed Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay to inform the Indian Ambassador about the move to do so.

Justice Secretary Aguirre also warned '5-6' lenders against continuing the lending scheme. He said they may be arrested without a warrant because they were operating without permits or a license.

In January, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched a micro-financing program aimed as an alternative to '5-6' schemes.

The program, Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) allocates an initial funding of ₱1 billion for financial assistance and is designed to bring down interest rates for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), especially in the country's poorest provinces.

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent Ina Andolong contributed to this story.