On 5 July 2023, the Philippines’ first gender notes were issued. ASA Philippines Foundation, Inc. (“ASA Philippines”) issued Php5 Billion worth of corporate notes under the Social Bond Principles 2021 of the International Capital Markets Association and in compliance with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Guidelines on the Issuance of Social Bonds under the ASEAN Social Bonds Standards in the Philippines. BDO Capital & Investment Corporation and Land Bank of the Philippines arranged the notes as Joint Mandated Lead Arrangers and Bookrunners while Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation – Trust and Investment Group served as Notes Facility Agent.
The Gender Bond classification was certified by social bond second party opinion provider, DNV, with the technical assistance of the Asian Development Bank. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat lauded the launch of the historic gender bond issuance of ASA Philippines, which targets women-led and women-owned micro, small, and medium enterprises or MSMEs and “has a significant multiplier effect on job creation and overall growth of the economy”.
ASA Philippines is a non-stock, non-profit corporation that provides microfinancing to women to help them establish and improve their own microenterprises. ASA Philippines promotes women empowerment and gender equality and advocates financial inclusion for the underserved.
With over two million clients being serviced nationwide, ASA Philippines shall use the proceeds to fund its working capital to further expand its lending business to women entrepreneurs as part of its social mandate.
ACCRALAW acted as counsel for ASA Philippines in this landmark issue. The team from the ACCRALAW’s Corporate and Special Projects Department was led by Partner Aison Benedict C. Velasco and assisted by Senior Associate Korina Ana T. Manibog and Associates Justine A. Navarro and Stena D. Arapoc.