For the past 11 years, I have always believed that Filipinos were never destined for poverty.
Prosperity can be attained by those who want it most and that success can be achieved with grit and passion. After Go Negosyo reaching a momentous one decade of successfully igniting an entrepreneurial revolution, we wish to level up the advocacy. It started with a wish and a prayer that with next administration of President Duterte, he can appoint someone who is ready to fight for the micro and small negosyantes. The big and established businesses can take care of themselves but as I have said, we need a trade secretary who will share the same vision of Go Negosyo that prosperity is for all and not for the selected few.
With Go Negosyo’s Executive Director Ramon Lopez as the next Department of Trade and Industry Secretary, I can say that this is the beginning for MSMEs. Together with the entire entrepreneurship community, especially those who have been blessed with more, it is now a time to give back and help those small and aspiring entrepreneurs who need help most. We can expect a DTI for MSMEs!
Let me share with you the thoughts of some Go Negosyo entrepreneurs and partners:
1. Vice President Leni Robredo:
With his vast experience in business and promotion of entrepreneurship in the country through Go Negosyo, I believe Mon Lopez has what it takes to be a successful Trade secretary. Behind Joey Concepcion and Lopez’s stewardship, the Go Negosyo has been at the forefront of helping small business endeavors in the country flourish.
As I share the vision of business development as one of the weapons in combating poverty, there is no doubt that Lopez can steer DTI to greater heights and help continue sustain the momentum of the country’s economic growth in the next six years for our Filipino people.
2. Sen. Cynthia Villar:
Congratulations to Ramon Lopez on his appointment as Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) by President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte. With him at the helm of DTI, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will be assured of more support. We have a similar advocacy in helping MSMEs and in promoting entrepreneurship, particularly among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Go Negosyo, where he is executive director, is the partner of Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG) in our yearly OFW and Family Summit. I wish him all the best in his new endeavor.
3. Sen. Sonny Angara:
Mon’s appointment is very encouraging for our entrepreneurs and small businesses having championed their cause for many years as director of Go Negosyo. Mon understands the various challenges and obstacles facing entrepreneurs and can help build a favorable ecosystem for them where there is mentoring, access to finance and assistance, and links to markets for their products.
We hope he can help our creative people and help foster greater innovation in the economy. We are also hopeful that he can attract industries to invest and create jobs which our countrymen sorely need. We wish him the best and will be supportive of the department’s programs.
4. Former DILG Secretary Raffy Alunan:
SMEs are the backbone of the micro-economy and the best vehicles for wealth creation, poverty reduction, inclusive growth and broad development in agriculture, aquaculture, manufacturing and services. What’s needed is an enabling environment to convert SMEs into a giant nation-building enterprise -capacity building, modern business tool kits such as info systems, modern technology, foreign partnerships, cheap medium-long term financing, insurance, tax incentives, etc. Demand crime and corruption reduction in real terms at the national and local levels to restore trust and confidence. This is all about nation-building for all Filipinos. Unity, solidarity and teamwork across the board and down the line is crucial. Upgrade long-range plans perhaps in 30 years where first 6 years lay new bricks and firm up existing foundations for expansion. Manufacture finished products to replace imports and for world markets where we have unique advantages for starters. Support agro & eco-tourism/build quality boats / small ships for commerce and leisure primarily for our archipelagic use. My advice is to be a driving force, evade intrigue, stay healthy, keep President Duterte regularly informed; work closely with banking industry, OP, DA, DOTC, DPWH, DOT, DOF, DILG, and DOJ. We are counting on him to change our socioeconomic profile.
5. Doris Ho:
I have had the great privilege to work with Secretary Lopez throughout the 2015 APEC Philippine hosting year. Our theme was “inclusive growth” with a goal to bring more MSME into global trade as a key economic growth driver for economies. We are so happy that President Duterte has appointed him as Secretary of Trade and Investment because he has a unique perspective of the different opportunities and challenges faced by both big and smaller business and entrepreneurs. I believe that Secretary Lopez will bring substance to our country’s economic and business positioning – identifying our unique selling proposition to be a focused globally competitive economy. With his heart clearly committed to inclusive business models, especially from his work with Joey Concepcion in Go Negosyo, we have no doubt that our dreams to bring more MSMES including women and people with disabilities into trade through e-commerce, or to be part of global supply chains, or creators and innovators, will be a priority to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. I wish Secretary Lopez all the best and offer all our support to him and to the President Duterte Administration.
6. Lance Gokongwei:
Mon Lopez appointment as DTI sec was well received by the entire business community. For many years, together with Joey Concepcion and the Go Negosyo team, he has championed entrepreneurship in the country as a noble vocation. It’s appropriate because small and medium business is really the key driver of job creation and growth in any country. My suggestion would be to make it easier for businesses to comply with all the myriad permits and reports that businessmen have to submit, and increase cost and complexity particularly for start ups and small entrepreneurs.
7. Atty. Felipe Gozon:
Having seen Mon Lopez perform, and achieve desired results over the years as Executive Director of Go Negosyo, not to mention his agreeable and approachable personality, I have no doubt that his appointment as DTI secretary will augur well for the country and our economy. He has the essential qualities, i.e., integrity, genuine desire to serve the public, competence, patience, etc., that are needed to be a good public servant. Needless to say, as DTI secretary, Mon Lopez can be expected to promote our industries and with more vigor and resources the development, increase and success of MSMEs.
8. Dr. Rolando Hortaleza:
The depth of Secretary Lopez’ knowledge and experience in the business sector particularly for SMEs, will definitely facilitate the efforts of President-elect DUTERTE’s administration to grow our economy. I am pretty sure that in his capacity as Executive Director of Go Negosyo from the time it started, he interacted and engaged the issues faced by SMEs and accordingly as Secretary of Trade, he can definitely help in promoting entrepreneurship.
9. George Barcelon:
Sec. Ramon Lopez appointment as head of DTI is a big plus to the economic team of President Rody. His wide ranging business experience & strong MSMEs advocacy are timely to the new administration’s focus on inclusive growth. He can count on the support & collaboration of the business sector.
10. Bill Luz:
He’s a good choice because he knows the problems and challenges that MSMEs face. The best way to help MSMEs is to get them involved in supply chains or value chains. It will help them find customers, build value, and build quality. I would also focus more attention on Manufacturing. One more item; I would somehow look at how our Trade Attache service is operated so it works more like Hongkong’s or Singapore’s – both very diff models but very effective.
11. Sen. Kiko Pangilinan:
We welcome his appointment. The bulk of trade and business in the country come from the SME sector. That’s where the battle to alleviate poverty lies and Mon has the experience and track record to deliver in this regard. He should ensure agri-business and agri-enterprise development is one major priority for him. It is the way to defeat poverty in the rural areas.
12. Guilly Luchangco:
This appointment shows the President-elect’s determination to promote MSME.
13. Former DTI Undersecretary Ernie Ordonez:
Ramon Lopez has proven himself as a very competent manager. Even in his early years when he worked in our group at DTI, he was outstanding in his thoroughness and hard work, traits he brought with him in his subsequent well appreciated work. More importantly, he cares for the less privileged and does all he can to help them through SMEs. In Ramon, we have competence with a heart.
14. Romy Bernardo:
Secretary Mon’s appointment is a clear boon to the MSME sector, trade and industry and the country. Alas a loss to RFM. (though gives us the bragging rights of being only corporation to have had two senior officers become DTI secretary. He brings to the job rich experience dating back to his days in NEDA and DTI as Director and Asec. And corporate experience cum advocacy in RFM and Go Negosyo. Doubtless, all this rich work background, his strong economics training in the U.S. as a scholar, will serve him well in injecting vigor and strategic thinking in nurturing robust manufacturing, agribusiness, services. And in the protection of consumer welfare and promoting our international trade interests. Not the least in nurturing entrepreneurship and MSME’s– his key advocacy with Joey.
15. Corazon Dayro-Ong:
In my opinion, he is most qualified for the job because of his long experience and success advocating entrepreneurship. I believe he can further help MSME’s using the government’s resources and his good relations not just with SME’s but with big enterprises and the financial sector, which can help provide funding for them. Some areas of trade which he can help improve are (1) anti-monopoly/fair competition; (2) more liberal foreign ownership of businesses; and (3) streamline business application processes and overall more business-friendly policies by the government.
16. Rosalind Wee:
I believe Mon Lopez is the right choice as Secretary of DTI. I’ve seen him worked for the success of Go Negosyo. Incoming Secretary knows SME from head to foot. I suggest he widens this endeavor with his position as DTI head to everywhere in our country. Give more access to people who want to go into business.
17. Jose Magsaysay Jr.:
He is perfect for the DTI position. He is in a position with strength to help entrepreneurs as he knows MSME’s very well coming from being the Executive Director of Go Negosyo. He is known by anyone who are and wishes to be an entrepreneur. Go Negosyo is a training ground for future leaders who wish to help big and small businesses.
18. Johnlu Koa:
Secretary Mon Lopez can bring into DTI not only knowledge and competence but also a culture of professionalism and humility. He is always quick to think, quick to respond and quick to help. His service mentality and judiciousness can pave the way for the new administration to implement change in a manner that will be acceptable to the business community and the public at large.
19. Danny Fausto:
The appointment of Mon is great. Following are issues that must be solved: (a) tax incentives for SMEs. Sales of SMEs are subjected to tax & income taxes with no input expense from raw materials suppliers thus penalizing integrators & SMEs if they help farmers; (b) Start-up SMEs cannot borrow from banks since 3year track record is required by BSP before a bank can lend thus SMEs end up borrowing from micro finance companies & informal lenders with very high interest rates; (c) spoiled items like vegetables, milk & other perishable goods are not allowed by BIR to be charged as expense until BIR examiners have certified them. BIR cannot physically examine them regularly because of lack of personnel & distance of source of perishable goods; and (d) truth in labeling of milk products. Milk products are being sold in the market labelled as FRESH MILK while the multinational companies that produced them do not have cows in the Philippines. How can they be fresh?
20. Henry Lim Bon Liong:
Mon is the best man to head DTI, his passion over the past years in Go Negosyo promoting entrepreneurship have bore fruits as we are suddenly seeing a large number of emergent young entrepreneurs now. I’m sure the DTI under his tutorship will give MSME a big push. My best wishes for Mon.
21. Josiah Go:
Mon Lopez is a great choice. He knows what businessmen need, how to encourage people to be entrepreneurs, and he is action oriented. Most of all, Mon is a good human being.
22. Cecilio Pedro:
One stop shop for registration of business permits to include all permits for local government. Too many regulators and red tape that hinders investment for SME’s.
23. Dr. Abraham Pascual:
I do not have much exposure to Sec. Lopez except during Go Negosyo events. He has a very pleasant personality and a doer. His credentials are excellent and appropriate of the job at hand. I believe that he will do a great job as Secretary of the DTI.
24. Samie Lim:
President elect Duterte, has again demonstrated his uncanny insights in tackling an issue. He has picked the perfect man for the job. Everyone talks about the fact that more than 99% of the businesses are MSME, and that the fact that our economic growth has not trickled down efficiently. The simple truth is that Philippines’ economy is run by the 1% business elite, with little real understanding of small businessmen. We have finally found a seasoned top executive that had years of successfully dealing with the top 1000 corporation, the international investors and at the same time ‘feel at home’ working with a business start-up. His ability to get these two groups to work together for our country’s economic growth, will bring us to new heights, we have never experienced. My unsolicited suggestion: set an ambitious goal with the economic managers, plan form a 7, 8, 9, & 10% growths in the next 6 years, rally and work closely with the private sector so our children will have the benefit of finally living in a “first world” country, the Philippines.
25. William Belo:
Mon definitely is the perfect choice for the DTI secretary, with his hands on experienced with Go Negosyo. He knows by heart the needs of an entrepreneur and a business concern. He is definitely a plus for the MSME, he should encourage more big businesses to do more to help the MSME. Small businesses create a lot of employments and help spread the wealth to a bigger population base. He should also make DTI more responsive to the needs of the business, make sure that the 3-days response time our incoming President commits can be followed. Bureaucratic red tape wasted a lot of man hour and lost business opportunities.
26. Felix Ang:
I am personally very happy for Mon Lopez with his appointment as DTI Secretary. His dedication and hard work with Go Negosyo has paved the way for this very important role in government. Clearly, he will be an advocate in driving support for MSMEs in such greater capacity and influence. We all would like to see small entrepreneurs achieve growth in their business activities thereby generating more jobs for the Filipino people. With his experience, qualifications and expertise, I am sure Mon will help realize “inclusive growth” for the Filipinos (through his Department) as amongst his priorities. I wish him all the very best!
27. Jay Aldeguer:
Just like the rest of the business community, I feel reassured that DTI will be under the leadership of Mon Lopez. Having worked closely with him from the beginning of Go Negosyo, it is very apparent that Mr. Lopez understands very clearly the plight of the SMEs, a sector we all know serves as the engine of growth for our country. His exposure and clear understanding of entrepreneurs, both big and small, will allow him to chart programs that will empower and propel the SMEs for steady growth.
28. Joy Abaquin:
As an educator and advocate for youth entrepreneurship for the past 16 years, I am very hopeful that the appointment of Ramon Lopez as DTI Secretary will help revitalize and make relevant government programs to benefit a wider spectrum of businesses to include MSMEs. He has worked tirelessly in a very hands-on manner, to make the vision of an entrepreneurial nation a reality. Mon’s inclusive leadership has cultivated partnerships among fellow entrepreneurship advocates in different sectors. I hope that Mon will help focus on ease of business & create programs that encourage and support both women and youth micro entrepreneurs. As an owner of an educational institution I cannot underscore enough the need for strengthening skills that will enable small entrepreneurs to be successful in growing their business. The Filipino entrepreneur is very talented & I am hopeful that with Mon at the helm, he can help provide government support for Filipino ingenuity to shine in the global market.
29. Jacquelline Alleje:
[My suggestions] One stop shop for business registration for SMEs, tax breaks for the first 2 years for SMEs; increases online access to consumer information and complaints; better market match, packaging centers for SMEs, access to retail spaces for SMEs and primary agricultural producers (supermarkets have prohibitive terms and conditions), close monitoring of compliance with organic standards and certification, and assistance to market for organic certified producers and products.
30. Esther Vibal:
We congratulate Ramon Lopez on his appointment as Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry under the Duterte administration. Having personally worked with Mr. Lopez on many of his programs and initiatives during his watch as Executive Director of Go Negosyo, I do know for a fact that Mr. Lopez’ immense knowledge of the business sector and excellent managerial skills will have a positive impact on us all. We expect great developments on the business front under Secretary Ramon Lopez.
31. Justin Uy:
Congrats to Ramon Lopez. He will be a good DTI Secretary. The best he can help the MSME group is to make documentation specially with the FDA easier. Sec. Lopez can create a task force to discuss with BFAD and fasten the issuance of Product Registration, Certificate of Free Sale and LTO. FDA is so slow such that it will take months to ask for this items, wherein buyers are willing to wait for 2 days only. Problems with Customs have to be addressed too. My suggestion to Sec. Lopez, is to use the local DTI offices in the Philippines to check with the local MSME group of how they would be assisted and what are there problems.
32. Fred Reyes:
With Mon Lopez as the new DTI Secretary, we can expect more government support for the small entrepreneurs. They are, after all the major drivers towards inclusive growth for the Philippine economy. Mon knows the challenges faced by the MSME group, and we look forward to a more active public/private partnership in addressing these concerns.
33. Yati Abdullah:
On behalf of DHL Express Philippines, I congratulate Mon on his appointment as the new Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). With Mon on board in the government sector, we remain optimistic of the continuous growth potential in the Philippines. Mon is a strategic partner in supporting the evolution of developing SMEs in the Philippines particularly in promoting entrepreneurship among Filipinos. He will be bringing in a wealth of experience to DTI on how to leverage and make the most of our local resources and abilities by utilizing and transforming micro-businesses into viable enterprises, allowing the Philippines to be at par with our neighboring countries and enabling the Filipino SMEs to become more competitive, globally. We encourage Mon to continue DTI’s program of improving SME education and in providing a marketplace of ideas, thought leadership, innovations, business models and best practices for Filipinos. DHL is behind Mon in his new role in the government and as always, we will provide support to DTI in any way we possibly can.
34. Jimmy Ayala:
Mon is a great choice for DTI Secretary! I look forward to working with him to build out hybrid value chains and to achieve growth that is truly inclusive.
35. Joey Qua:
We are all very happy and proud of Mon Lopez’s appointment as DTI Sec. We hope that he will bring with him the wealth of knowledge he has absorbed from his post as Go Negosyo’s Executive Director and address all the issues that he is aware of so he can make life easier for the entrepreneurs in the Philippines.
36. Mitch Locsin:
I’m very happy to see Mon Lopez as the new DTI Secretary. With the impact he has made as Executive Director of Go Negosyo, Filipino entrepreneurs can rest assured that he will continue to bring positive growth for MSMEs all over the country. As a long time partner of both GoNegosyo and DTI, PLDT SME Nation will be supportive of Mon’s initiatives in this new assignment. We recognize Mon’s ability to drive entrepreneurs forward and develop the community of businesses. With him, MSMEs of various sectors and industries can look towards a path of success and make it big. Mon has always had a strong mindset towards the empowerment of entrepreneurs and start-ups, and with the 99.6% of registered businesses in the country comprised of MSMEs, I’m confident that he will continue the advocacy to put the focus back on that sector to drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth for the Philippines. We look forward to the increase of opportunities for the MSME sector with Mon as DTI Secretary and to the continuous improvement of the livelihood of the Filipino as well. We hope for more avenues that will educate MSMEs on the solutions and tools available to aid in the development of their businesses, especially at the onset of ASEAN integration and the expanding data-driven communities. Through this, Filipino entrepreneurs can be equipped for success in both the local and global markets.
37. Myrna Yao:
Incoming Sec. Mon Lopez will do his best as Secretary of DTI. He is the person behind the success of Go Negosyo and had performed well in all his tasks. Having enough background in business and social enterprise, he is a man who can alleviate the MSME with the help of the government and private sectors. We should all support him in this new responsibility since he will only do things for the good of all.
38. Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr.:
We welcome the appointment of Mon Lopez as the DTI secretary. He not only has the academic preparation for the position, but he also has considerable experience in growing businesses, particularly the MSME sector, which forms the backbone of Philippine industry. While the mandate of the DTI is broader than the MSME Sector, Mr. Lopez’s knowledge in dealing with the challenges of this sector — such as from entry of agents into the formal sector, funding and actually helping enterprises move up the value ladder — would clearly inform national trade policy. The BSP and DTI work closely on a number of initiatives that cover, among others, creating a regulatory environment that would be conducive to foreign investments, including developing a consistent data base for investments, enhancing consumer protection, improving financial education, and establishing an enabling environment for financial inclusion. We look forward to engaging the DTI under Mr. Lopez in this work.”
39. Jose E.B. Antonio:
I wish the new DTI secretary all the best. Through his department, the government can help the MSME group by implementing strategic plans that showcase specific areas where our industries have the competitive advantage, and matching the demand to the entrepreneurs’ resources and skills. It’s very important to identify our strong sectors – whether it’s in food processing, agriculture or others – and give strategic focus on these sectors. Let’s support our strong sectors with strong potential over weaker sectors that have less chances in this real world of business, such as manufacturing.
40. Sen. Bam Aquino:
We’d like to congratulate Mon Lopez on his appointment as head of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) by president-elect Rodrigo Duterte. We have been allies in championing entrepreneurship in the Philippines and I have seen firsthand his dedication to developing our micro, small and medium enterprises – the sector crucial in achieving inclusive growth and beating poverty. Mon’s appointment is truly well-deserved and we are elated that he will be given the opportunity to make an even bigger difference as DTI Secretary. Mon will be a big asset to the Duterte administration’s drive to boost the country’s economy and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).