RBAP-MABS facilitates Small Claims Court training for Federation of Cavite Rural Bankers

(Left) Participating banks listening to the presentation (Right) Judge Maria Filomena Singh of Quezon City Regional Trial Court 85

(Left) Participating banks listening to the presentation (Right) Judge Maria Filomena Singh of Quezon City Regional Trial Court 85

The USAID-supported RBAP-MABS Program and Rule of Law Initiative, together with the Federation of Cavite Rural Banks, conducted a Small Claims Court seminar for more than twenty rural banks on March 16 at Bangko Mabuhay’s Head Office in Tanza, Cavite.

The training event focused on the origin, scope, and procedures related to small claims in courts throughout the Philippines. Judge Maria Filomena Singh of Quezon City Regional Trial Court 85 thoroughly explained how rural banks can effectively utilize the new Small Claims procedures in their respective municipalities.

The basic objective of the initiative is to implement procedures that are simplified, inexpensive, and efficient for small money claims of P100,000 or less. Cases are heard without lawyers, allowing for simple and efficient case settlement and decisions issued on the day of the hearing. It standardizes all forms required by the court and empowers clerks of court to provide information to people involved, thereby reducing costs normally associated with traditional court cases. It also limits itself to purely money claims only and decisions made on the day of the hearing are final, unappealable, and executory, making the proceedings fast and efficient.

After the seminar, the rural banks agreed to review their collection practices to incorporate the Small Claims court procedures when needed for hard-core collection cases. This new effort by the Supreme Court actually makes it easier for rural banks to feel comfortable with offering unsecure microfinance loans and expands available credit options for micro and small businesses in the countryside.

The Rule of Law Initiative of the Supreme Court of the Philippinesm, with technical assistance provided by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) Program of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP), are supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Philippines.