True to its mandate to provide a reliable and comprehensive centralized credit information system in the country, the state-run Credit Information Corporation (CIC) formally forged partnership with the University of the Philippines Public Administration Research and Extension Services Foundation, Inc. (UPPAF) as one of the latter’s agency partners for the implementation of Project RESPOND (Regulatory Support Program for National Development).

UPPAF was awarded a five-year grant to cover the period from April 2019 to April 2024 by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide support for the implementation of Project RESPOND. The project pursues interventions that will enhance market competition, strengthen regulatory capacity and governance, and promote citizen engagement and advocacy.

During the partnership forum held at Discovery Suites, Pasig City in December 2019, UPPAF RESPOND’s Chief of Party, Dr. Enrico Basilio, shared that the project is envisioned to enhance competitiveness and ultimately contribute to higher levels of investment and trade, inclusive growth, and self-reliance.

CIC’s response: Speaking in front of representatives from national government agencies, regulatory bodies, and private entities, CIC President and CEO Jaime Casto Jose P. Garchitorena noted:

“We hear stories of people who are denied credit because someone may have had a similar name and the transactions are attributed to them, or a person may be denied credit because of a previous transaction or negative action that they have engaged in so they are in a negative list even if they long since fulfilled their obligation.”

CIC, the country’s sole public credit registry, has established a solution—the online dispute resolution process (ODRP), in recognition of the borrower’s rights to dispute any incorrect or inaccurate information on their credit reports obtained through the Credit Information System (CIS). The ODRP is also in response to the prevalence of false financial data in the market.

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CEO Garchitorena likewise stated the need for the active participation of all stakeholders involved.

“The first step will be instilling among the contributing entities (banks, cooperatives, microfinance institutions, and government financial institutions with lending facilities, among others) the necessity to comply and the implications of non-compliance to a regulatory body like the CIC, and then getting the support of all other regulators that co-regulate these entities.

“We have to convince the rest of the bureaucracy to respond properly to this particular matter of online dispute resolution and the correction of credit information for the benefit of Filipinos,” the PCEO concluded.

Credit registry and Ambisyon Natin 2040  Per the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by UPPAF and CIC, the former shall provide technical assistance to the latter in the implementation of regulatory programs including the dispute resolution.

The two shall collaborate and jointly plan, develop, and implement annual work programs on the provided technical assistance that will support the fulfillment of the targets and objectives of the Philippine government including the Ambisyon Natin 2040.

“In order to realize the Ambisyon of a strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life for all Filipinos, the country’s financial ecosystem shall be anchored on a reliable credit registry,” Garchitorena added.

Also present in the partnership forum and MOU signing were Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director General Jeremiah Belgica, USAID Philippines OEDG Chief Jeff Lehrer, and officials and representatives from UPPAF RESPOND, Philippine Competitions Commission, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Governance Commission for GOCCs, American Chamber of Commerce, Philippine Chamber of Commerce Inc., Exporters Confederation Inc., the ASEAN Business Council, and Export Development Council.

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The Credit Information Corporation (CIC), a government-owned and-controlled corporation was created by Republic Act No. 9510, otherwise known as the Credit Information System Act (CISA).  The primary mandate of CIC is to establish a comprehensive and centralized credit information system for the collection and dissemination of fair and accurate information relevant to, or arising from, credit and credit-related activities of all entities participating in the ecosystem