SAN SIMON -- The local government here continues to give assistance to the indigent people through the Bottom-Up Budgeting program of the national government.

With the administration of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO), the municipality awards seed capital to small businesses such as sari-sari store, piggery and livestocks.

"Pinapahiram namin sila initially ng P5,000 na babayaran nila for 1 year. Pero itong pinapahiram namin walang interes," said MSWDO representative Toni Mari Gutierrez.

"Magbabayad sila ng P100 sa DSWD tapos P50 para sa savings nila na makukuha nila at the end of each cycle. Another P10 ulit for damayan. Yun yung kapag namatayan sila o may nagkasakit sa pamilya, may another savings sila. Tapos P10 ulit para sa transportation allowance ng grupo," he added, saying each member must pay P170 per week.

The borrowers are organized into small groups, which will consists of five to 30 members. Members are obliged to assist each other because if one will not pay, the group must compensate for it.

"Ang utang ng isa, utang ng lahat. Dapat i-encourage ang bawat kagrupo na maging good payer," said Gutierrez.

The local government allotted some P1.2 million from their municipal budget for the year 2014 for the program.

A debtor must have an existing small project or business to qualify for the capital seed assistance program, said Gutierrez.

"Kailangan may existing na negosyo kasi mahihirapan silang magbayad kapag starting pala. Itong inaaward namin, pandagdag negosyo lang kumbaga," he stressed.

As of now, there are more than 500 debtors from the program since the project started last year.