Five-Six: Financial Savior or Financial Horror?

Our house is near "talipapa" or a smaller public market. It's full of different stalls and stores selling fish, pork, chicken, beef, vegetables and much more. But what other things you can see here in our market is the presence of the local and foreigners collecting money from smaller merchants.

Yes, the so-called financial saviour, the famous 5/6 from money lender like the "Bombay" or the Indian financiers. 
No matter how President Duterte warned us about the negative impact 5/6 to our lives, still people are embracing it as their last resort.  I interviewed some of the merchants, here are their stories.


"From the start I open my chicken stall here, I did not expect that my life would change because of a financial problem. I am not ready to face the reality that I am losing everything because of the 5/6".

"To have a chicken meat shop, all you need is a sufficient funds for starting the venture. Then, a little more than a weighing scale, a butcher’s knife, and a cutting board, slowly you will need to add more in order to increase your selling. So I decided, why not join the bandwagon of 5/6, there everything changes not for the better but for the worst."

~ Aling Mercy, 51 years old
  Owner — Chicken Meat Stall


"I am Sally and I rented a Barbeque stand. I entered 5/6 for additional capital. But I don't have any idea that too much lending will lead me to doom."

"I have five lending companies, two is from a "Bombay" and three from other lending companies. Alternately, I paid them daily, but sometimes I cannot pay because it depends with my daily average income."

"Little did I know that when you miss a day without paying, the next time you ask for a renewal they will say yes, but the truth is they will never renew your booklet."

~ Nang Sally, 59 years old
  Owner — Barbecue Stand

Pool Funding very popular also here in our barangay, aside from the 5/6. Mostly stall owners and/or vendors do this to add income to their capital.

"We usually collect a certain amount from each other then the next thing we do is  "bunutan" or casting lots to know who will be the first to use the funds."

“The cons here is that we cannot get funds easily if our names is not yet on the schedule so we need to wait. How about for emergency purposes? Here were 5/6 enter and another easy way to get money. No hassle — no required documents needed, but the only problem is that you need to pay daily. Our daily payment is flexible; if we fail to pay one day, it's  understood that we must pay for the day missed the next time around.“

~ Beverly, 52 years old
  Street Food Vendor

“Most of us here are ambulant vendors, selling smoked fish, veggies, fish balls, Kwek-Kwek, barbecue and the like. Some owned a stall, but in our case we rent a stall or we have our own rolling store. Some had a good capital to start, while others are in need of financial support."

“Nothing beats the 5-6 money lenders, they collect every day. That's why we need to work in order to earn too! They will collect a nominal interest rate 20% over an agreed period of time. Just like me, I just borrowed  P1500 from a 5/6 money lender over a period of two months repays. A P30 per day for 60 days they get P1800.“

~Benjamin, 27 years old
 Buko Juice Vendor

As Our Last Resort

“Though we enjoy having it as our last resort in getting additional funds to our capital, the problem arises when daily collections started. Out of 100% vendors in our market 40% borrowed money from the Indians, the others came from Filipino lenders.“

"They collect and we suffered. And what we do in order to increase our profit we need to sell our goods at a higher cost. At the same time,  financial crises hit us, we have no choice but to increase our dependency on Indians.“

Minerva, 55 years old

Sari-Sari Store Owner

In Thoughts...

No matter what we say about "5/6", borrowers remained dependent with their lenders — they both survived especially to the Filipino society downturn. Though it helps us, but the "utang" goes on and on — it never stops!  Instead of having a good business to give us as "pamana" or heritage to our children — loan will be there burden till the end.

This is my 4th post for the #PlsSaveMe campaign.

Thank you for reading my final post about financial literacy for Filipino.

A Disclaimer: Some photos are from for illustration purposes only.