Archive for the ‘KAPATID: Angat Lahat’ Category

Philippine Finalists to the ABA 2017

Thursday, August 17th, 2017
The ASEAN Business Awards 2017 will be held on September 6, 2017.

The ASEAN Business Awards 2017 will be held on September 6, 2017.

This coming September 6, we shall name the latest winners of the ASEAN Business Awards 2017. The ASEAN Business Awards is a regional search for exceptional enterprises who have contributed to the economic and socio-cultural development of the region. These enterprises have grown not just in their home countries but have conquered and made marks other ASEAN countries. Hopefully soon, these companies will reach global markets and we can all proudly say that they are all ASEAN-grown.

But prior to the announcing of winners, we had a deliberation of Philippines’ finalists to the ASEAN Business Awards. Let me tell you, this is one of the exciting parts of an awards search. We received more than 200 applications from all countries and each country has to deliberate on who will represent their country in the award categories.

Philippines had its own deliberation with Sen. Bam Aquino, Johnlu Koa, and Jose Magsaysay Jr. as judges. Over 100 Filipino companies applied for the ABA 2017. After some grueling discussion, the judges identified 20 companies who will vie for regional awards.

Nature’s Legacy Eximport Inc. is one of the Philippine finalists to the ASEAN Business Awards. The business led by Pedro and Catherine Delantar proudly manufactures high-end home and hotel furniture made from sustainable materials since 1997. Nature’s Legacy Eximport is a finalist to the Wood-Based and Innovation categories.

One of the San Miguel Pure Foods Company’s subsidiaries, San Miguel Foods also made it as a finalist in the Agri-Food category. San Miguel Foods is engaged in agro-industrial manufacturing producing commercial feeds, poultry, pork, and beef. Over the years, the company has built a network of third-party owned and operated facilities such as feed mills, farms, processing plants and other infrastructure nationwide.

Another finalist to the Agri-food category is the Destileria Limtuaco & Co which is headed by Olivia Limpe-Aw. The company produces quality wines and liquors crafted with Philippines’ fruits. The company has rationalized the product portfolio from mass market to a niche mid-range market in the country and across ASEAN.

I’m sure we all know Bernie Liu of the Golden ABC, one of the leading retail companies in the country. His company is a Philippine finalist to the retail category. Golden ABC is a multi-awarded fashion enterprise which is composed of several brands including Penshoppe, Oxygen, Forme, Memo, Regatta, Tyler, and Red Logo. Started with an initial capital of P5000.00, the company rose into an ASEAN brand well loved in Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

One of the leading photography brand in the country, Great Image, will also be finalist to the ASEAN Business Awards under the retail category. Founded in 1983 by Robert and Evelyn Palomo, the company is the leading photography brand for the last three decades. It has provided a professional, reliable, and creative photography services available to most Filipinos. Evelyn Palomo is also a finalist to the Women Entrepreneur category.

Gandang Kalikasan Inc. which is founded by sisters Anna Meloto-Wilk and Camille Meloto also made it as a finalist in the Healthcare category. The brand is known for producing natural, eco-friendly, green wellness and cosmetic products. It is one of the recognized inclusive businesses in the country which has tapped poor farmers and low-income communities.

Connecting markets across the ASEAN region is important that is why Logistics is one of the priority industry sector in the ASEAN. Asian Marine Transport Corporation is the country’s representative in this category. Asian Marine Transport Corporation started its small operations in 1999 penetrating countryside ports. Just recently, it is the first logistics company to heed to the call of the government to connect the ASEAN region through the opening of Davao-Bitung route.

Mont Albo Wellness Corporation is one of the finalists for Growth category. Since 2007, the company specializes in Filipino traditional massage and home therapy. Nol Montalbo started the business with only P1,500 but is now employing 500 masseuse and therapists thus providing livelihood opportunities to many Filipinos.

Another Philippine contender in the Growth category is Human Resource Innovations and Solutions which is provides human resource solutions to businesses. HURIS began in 2005 with the firm mission of delivering quality services to its clients.

One of the two corporate social responsibility category finalists, Lamoiyan Corporation provides employment to the deaf community. Its CSR framework is based on the principles of human dignity and promoting self-worth anchored on the company values of building integrity and cultivating respect. The company started in 1987 and is the first Filipino toothpaste brand launched in the market.

Lamoiyan Corporation’s co-finalist is the NCST Institute of Industrial Research and Training. The company provides quality education and industrial capacity building. Through its program Study Now Pay Later Zero Cash Out Scheme, economically-challenged students are given access to quality and relevant industry-based training. From an initial 10 trainees, more than 30,000 students have benefited from this CSR program.

Fruitas Group Inc., is a finalist to not just one category but two. The company is competing for the award on either Innovation or Employment. Fruitas Group has been founded in 2002 by Lester Yu and has provided the local market with affordable fresh fruit beverages. Since its establishment, the brand has grown to include other concepts such as Buko Loco, Black Pearl, Friends Fries, and many more.

Another contender in the Employment category is the Titan Barong of Lumban which is a quality producer and retailer of barong tagalog. Few years ago, the company is only selling hundreds of their special barong tagalog, but today, they are now producing and selling an average of 100,000 pieces per year. The company has hired and provided employment to 178 employees in total.

Young entrepreneur Dennis Uy founded the UDENNA Corporation in 2002 which established a single independent filling station in the retail fuel industry. Under UDENNA are its two subsidiaries Phoenix Petroleum Philippines and Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corporation. Phoenix Petroleum is the 3rd biggest oil company while Chelsea Logistics in now a dominant player in the shipping industry.

Contending against Dennis Uy is Richard Sanz of FoodAsia Group. The company is involved in various businesses such as restaurant and bakery operations, food retail, food manufacturing, franchising, and real estate. From one employee, the company now has more than 500 employees.

Another women entrepreneur finalist is Nannette Medved-Po which leads the Friends of Hope, a business of purified bottled water established in 2012. The company’s program Hope in a Bottle donated 100% of its profits to the building of public school classrooms. Their brand empowers Filipinos to participate in building schools by buying their water bottles.

These are just the Philippine brands that will compete in the ASEAN Business Awards. While some are competing for two categories, a company cannot win in both. Watch out for the 2017 ASEAN Business Awardees!

Alliance For Prosperity for All

Thursday, August 10th, 2017
PA Joey Concepcion and President Rodrigo Duterte briefly talked after the speech of the President. President Duterte commends the ASEAN BAC's Alliance for Prosperity for All.

PA Joey Concepcion and President Rodrigo Duterte briefly talked after the speech of the President. President Duterte commends the ASEAN BAC’s Alliance for Prosperity for All.

Fifty years ago, five foreign ministers formed an organization of an inter-government cooperation towards economic, social and cultural progress.  This is what we call today as Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The founding fathers of ASEAN were Adam Malik (Indonesia), Narciso Ramos (Philippines), Tun Abdul Razak (Malaysia), S. Rajaratnam (Singapore), and Thanat Khoman (Thailand). ASEAN then gradually expanded and grew as Brunei, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam joined one by one completing the current 10-member countries.

Fast forward to 2017, we are celebrating a milestone in ASEAN – the 50th jubilee of the Association. Philippines is fortunate and honored to host the golden year of ASEAN together with the ASEAN foreign ministers, delegates, and members of the government and private sectors. We honored the founding fathers of ASEAN for starting an organization of countries that has united amidst its diversity. Indeed, we overcame differences and stood together with one vision.

After all the impeccable performances, President Rodrigo Duterte shared in his speech the background of ASEAN and how its history of cooperation has advanced the collective values and interests of each member country. He added, “We proved that regionalism developed on our pace, our terms and values will work in our favour.”

We are glad that President Duterte also recognized the efforts of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and the whole private sector.

PRRD said, “Public-private partnerships must be harnessed fully to lift up our people from poverty. Indeed, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council’s Alliance for Prosperity for All is showing how an inclusive business model will help achieve the growth of our MSMEs and our people in the grassroots.”

Alliance for Prosperity for All was established with the mission to bring poverty alleviation to a bigger scale by tapping business organizations and chambers to be part of a dedicated working committee that will push for MSME Development. We are keen on working closely with the government in bringing prosperity not just to the MSMEs but also to those who are in the low lying communities in the country.

Together with the members of the Alliance for Prosperity for All and the entrepreneurs, we will develop programs which will create an enabling and sustainable environment for all enterprising individuals.

Alliance for Prosperity for All is composed of business organizations and chambers who pushes for MSME development.

Alliance for Prosperity for All is composed of business organizations and chambers who pushes for MSME development.

I have shared this many times already but I think it is destiny that I am here today as the chairman of ASEAN Business Advisory Council. Ten years ago, it was my father who is part of this dynamic institution that has created a better cooperation and communication with the member countries and its dialogue partners.

Prior to our celebration, Malaysia had their own festivity last August 4. I was part of the ASEAN@50 Conference hosted by the ASEAN BAC Malaysia led by Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Munir Majid. It was only a half-day conference but it was filled with insights from ASEAN entrepreneurs. In a forum, I shared the importance of putting MSME development at the center of ASEAN integration in order to alleviate underprivileged people out of poverty through the promotion of inclusive growth. The conference also underlined the vision of ASEAN for the next years which will depend on our young entrepreneurs and the continuous technology innovation.

Afterwards, a dinner was hosted by ASEAN BAC Malaysia which was graced by Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak. It was a grand celebration where they showed a historical account of ASEAN milestones. Awards were also given to 10 outstanding Malaysian companies who have grown and expanded in the ASEAN market.

ASEAN has proved that by putting differences aside and focusing on what bonds us – one goal of prosperity, will create an inclusive environment where no one is left behind. It is in our roots that we continuously grow together to bring more economic and social progress for all our people.

Moving forward, we look towards a more prosperous region. We should see ahead the lives of our people to be better than what they experience today. In our fast-changing and innovative state, we hope that all the 10-countries shall experience the growth that we all pursue.

 

The Prestigious ASEAN Business Awards 2017

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
The ASEAN Business Awards 2017 will be held on September 6, 2017.

The ASEAN Business Awards 2017 will be held on September 6, 2017.

ASEAN Business Advisory Council just concluded the search for the ASEAN Business Awards. On September, we will be announcing the latest batch of winners for ABA 2017.

The ASEAN Business Awards was created by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council in 2007 to give recognition to the enterprises who have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy. Aside from recognizing the ASEAN enterprises, ABA also serves as a platform to spread information concerning the ASEAN Economic Community.

This year, as Philippines hosts the 50th year of ASEAN and the 10th year of ABA, we are giving the spotlight to the small and medium enterprises who have become great business players not only in their country but across the region as well.

Since 2017, ABA has recognized more than 100 companies under these categories: Growth, Employment, Innovation, and Corporate Social Responsibility. It has also recognized enterprises under the Priority Integration Sectors which includes electronics, e-ASEAN, healthcare, wood-based products, automotives, rubber, textiles, agri-food, fisheries, retail, logistics, and tourism.

A special award called Friend of ASEAN will also be given to enterprises which have created massive social and economic impact in the ASEAN community. ABA 2017 will also recognize outstanding women entrepreneur, and young entrepreneur. With our mission to promote inclusive growth across the region, we also added the category of Inclusive Business which will showcase business models which tapped low-lying communities as part of the value chain.

There are enterprises and entrepreneurs who have stood the test of time, surpassed challenges, and inspired others through their success who are worthy to be identified as legacies in the ASEAN region.

We received a great number of applications. We even had to extend the deadline twice! Soon, our board of judges with representatives from all ASEAN member countries will come to deliberate on the winners per category.

Philippines has won several awards from ABA. Some of the winners include Henry Lim Bon Liong (SL Agritech), Anya Lim (Anthill), Sherill Quintana (Oryspa), JD Abenaza (Zeenoh), Teresa Laurel (Goto King), Alfredo Yao (Zesto), Crispin Muyrong (Sunlight Foods), Junie Del Mundo (EON), Maria Coronel (Pointwest Technologies), Sandy Montano (CHEERS), Paulo Tibig (VCargo), Ferdinand Ferrer (EMS Components), Philip Young (Global Foods Solutions), and Marlon Rono (Magsaysay Maritime).

Tony Fernandes, the man behind the successful airline Air Asia, was also an awardee of ABA. He was awarded in 2015 under the ASEAN Priority Integration Sector Award. Last 2015, I met him during the APEC SME Summit wherein he was a speaker. Behind a successful man is an inspiring story of turning a childhood dream into a reality.

From an existing but dying airline, he reformatted Air Asia with the mission of providing accessible and affordable flights to passengers. A hands-on leader that he is, he has worked on the ground and in the cabin.

Today, Air Asia has grown from a Malaysian domestic airline to a low-cost carrier in Asia. Under his leadership, Air Asia has been awarded several times for being the world’s best low-cost airline company.

Air Asia has indeed changed and contributed to the tourism sector in the region by providing reliable connection among ASEAN countries.

Myanmar travel company, Adventure Myanmar Tours and Incentives also won an ASEAN Priority Integration Sector Award last year. Zar Ni Htwe, the company’s managing director who was well-versed in the tourism sector, received the award. Adventure Myanmar was recognized for its quality service in giving its clients a remarkable vacation in different hotels and resorts.

Singapore’s Health Management International (HMI) also won an award on healthcare last 2015. HMI is a private healthcare provider which owns hospitals. Aside from Singapore, HMI is present in Malaysia and Indonesia.

In 2008, Martha Tilaar, the chairwoman of Martha Tilaar group, was recognized for her efforts in bringing traditional Indonesian beauty traditions to the modern age. The company is a producer of beauty products and services and has expanded its distribution worldwide.

These companies are just some of the noteworthy and remarkable enterprises across the ASEAN region. We look forward to the latest batch of winners. I personally watch out for the inclusive business awards who will be a great example for other companies to have inclusive business models in their business process. Aside from this, I am also excited to recognize the legacy awardee who is an inspiration to many.

Go Negosyo has recognized a lot of entrepreneurs in the past but this time, as chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, I am proud to lead the search for outstanding SMEs who have played their part in their respective economies and are on their way to become global players.

Watch out for the ABA 2017 winners this coming September 6!

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PA Joey Concepcion with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

PA Joey Concepcion with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

I had the privilege recently to join a small group dinner with former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The intimate dinner was hosted by US Ambassador Sung Kim and was attended by  Amb. Bobby Romulo, Amb. Joey Cuisia, and the newly appointed Amb. Jose “Babe” Romualdez. Madam Albright was the first woman secretary of state during the Clinton administration in 1997.

During my short encounter with her, Madam Albright who is known as strong-willed and outspoken, was accommodating and full of wisdom. When she left her position in 2001, she has written several best-selling books and has launched a private investment fund called Albright Capital Management which is an investment firm focusing on emerging markets.

I told her that even at her age, which is 80, she is still an amazing woman. She even signed a photograph of her for my wife who is a big fan of hers.

She is just one of the empowered women I have met for the past years. There are a lot of women who are worthy to be honored and recognized for their selfless contribution in their respective organizations and country. It was indeed an honor to meet the Secretary.

In Honor of Our Soldiers

Thursday, July 27th, 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte personally condoled the bereaved families of the 101 troops killed in Marawi.

President Rodrigo Duterte personally condoled the bereaved families of the 101 troops killed in Marawi.

It has been two months since the war broke out in Marawi City. Many families were displaced, not knowing if they can still return to their houses. Many lives were lost fighting for sovereignty and peace. These people are worthy to be recognized and honored.

Last Tuesday, July 25, we celebrated the lives of our fallen heroes who died fighting for the country. Over the span of 10 days, our team had to call the members of the 101 bereaved families to inform them that the Go Negosyo Kapatid community will be honoring them. Our team burned the lines to contact and research them by all means of communication. We want everyone to be here in Manila and no one should be left behind.

Members and representatives of the families were all flown here in Manila to receive the assistance the Kapatids big-heartedly provided. Philippine Airlines, thanks to Dr. Lucio Tan and Mike Tan, extended all their support by sponsoring the flights of the families. Since some of them was not able to get copies of their tickets, PAL still accommodated them just by showing their IDs.

Upon their arrival here in Manila, they conveniently stayed at Hotel101 owned by Injap Sia who also supported the project not just by providing the accommodation, but also provided meals for the families.

When they arrived in Manila, they were still grieving. On their first night, when they met with the AFP officers and Duterte Cabinet Spouses, many were still crying. I personally saw the sadness in their eyes.

On the day of the turnover ceremony, the families arrived by buses. While waiting for the President to arrive, we felt that something is missing. On one side of the venue people were all weeping while on the other side, the business community was cheerfully greeting each other. To set the proper tone of the event, paused the socialization and started with the pre-program. After sharing the stories of some of the fallen heroes, we requested some of our Go Negosyo big brothers to converse with the families. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo approached the wives and parents of the fallen troops. She chatted with them and held their hands as they talk. The cabinet spouses led by Betty Medialdea and Edith Lorenzana went around also to console the families. My wife and the other women entrepreneurs ended up crying with the families as they hear their stories. I was told that Alfredo Yao also teared up talking to the families. Steve Benitez also shared in our Viber group, “Frankly speaking, I didn’t know how to approach them at first. Hearing them share their stories grounded me and made me grateful. It was difficult to listen because there was no amount of words that could ease their pain. All I could offer was my presence, and my prayers for their families and continued support.”

When President Duterte arrived, we played an emotional video of some families sharing the messages to their fallen soldiers. During my talk, I honored and gave thanks for the lives of our troops. We were there to honor the 101 troops. It was hard to talk about death and how the families were feeling. with the presence of the Go Negosyo Kapatids and the President, we somehow made the wives, parents, siblings, and children of the troops that they are not alone in this time of grieving.

During the turnover ceremony, the families were personally greeted by the President. He even took the children with him on his lap. I have to hold one of them as well.

After the program, many approached me for some photos. Many of them were happily thanking me for what we did. People congratulated me but it is I who should congratulate them. We are all instruments of change and of hope. I am glad I was able to break my own fear on dealing with situations like this. Sometimes we would shy away from the real issues in life and live in our comfort zones. But moments like this will make us realize the real life.

The atmosphere changed a lot. It was now a different feeling compared to the time I saw them enter. This is now part of the healing process. We promised the families that we will continue to help them. They can call us anytime. We are also providing mentoring since they are receiving more financial assistance. Sec. Ramon Lopez (DTI), Sec. Bebot Bello (DOLE), and Sec. Boy Dela Pena (DOST) also offered assistance.

Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar who was the project coordinator of our Go Negosyo Kapatid for Marawi coordinated with the officers in charge in Marawi to deliver assistance to the displaced families and deployed soldiers since the war started.

President Duterte thanked all the big brothers, “Joey, he’s an active organizer at iyong mga kaibigan niyang negosyante, marami pong salamat sa inyong lahat and we will remember you.”

Thank you to our Go Negosyo big brothers especially the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers who supported this project. You are all blessings to the people who needed help. Your support has provided the families with hope to continue their lives. I assure all of you that your donations and support are well appreciated.

This is one of our missions in life – to help those who are in need. And this is a worthy cause to pursue. As entrepreneurs, we are dealing with businesses everyday but for programs like this, we are in touch with our roots to help our fellow countrymen.

To the bereaved families, we are all here with you.

To our 101 troops, we appreciate your bravery and sacrifice. You have lived a meaningful life. Salamat magigiting na mandirigma.

Our First Year with President Duterte

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

prrd-jac
When President Rodrigo Duterte was appointed as the 16th president of our country, many countrymen hoped for change that would make our country great again. It is an understatement to say that 2016 has been eventful because of the new administration. I myself, was amazed by the fast developments we have achieved so far.

Aside from its strong commitment to end drug-related activities nationwide, President Duterte made actions in removing corruption in the government and building closer ties with different countries. With this, the President received a high satisfaction rate from many Filipinos.

My office as the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship has been widely cooperating with the President’s socio-economic development plans. It was August 2016 when we, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry led by Sec. Ramon Lopez, launched the nationwide mentoring program called Kapatid MENTOR ME that aims to help micro and small entrepreneurs scale up through weekly coaching and mentoring with entrepreneur-mentors and business experts held in the different Negosyo Centers. We have reached all 16 regions and have certified more than 400 mentors who dedicatedly teach and guide our MSMEs. For the 4th quarter of 2016 alone, more than 200 MSMEs have graduated from this 10-week module. We are continuously reaching more MSMEs in cities and provinces.

We are inspired to know that we have helped many micro-entrepreneurs. Some of them, after having graduated from the Mentor ME program, have become mentors themselves. While managing their business, they are also helping their fellow entrepreneurs through mentorship.

We have recently partnered with Sec. Manny Pinol and the Department of Agriculture to bring mentorship in the agriculture sector. In fact, yesterday was the first launch of the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME program in Tacloban. There were many agri-entrepreneurs and farmers who attended the first roll-out.

Through the partnership with DTI and DA, we are providing financial assistance and mentoring to our MSMEs.

It so happened that we are hosting the ASEAN’s 50th year and I was appointed as the chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, the private sector counterpart of ASEAN which President Duterte chairs.

The ASEAN BAC supports the government’s theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World” by applying the same principles. We have come up with the theme, “Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All” because we believe that prosperity for all is not just for the upper or the well-privileged classes. Prosperity for all is engaging all ASEAN members from micro level to macro.

Last April 28, we organized the ASEAN Prosperity for All, the first summit focused on MSMEs in trade, services, and agriculture. Malaysia and Thailand’s Prime Ministers attended the one-day summit which highlighted the MSMEs in the ASEAN platform. Economic ministers of Myanmar and Cambodia were also there to provide statements of support for the MSME development. 

  

Additionally, in order to bring mentorship to a bigger scale, ASEAN BAC also prioritized mentoring as the key agenda for this year. The ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) will be the largest pool of mentors across the region which will assist and develop teaching modules for MSME development. 

  

Proving that the private sector is one with the government, we also convened a national initiative through the Alliance Towards Prosperity for All, an alliance of Philippine business organizations and chambers which will closely work with the government not just for MSME development but also for poverty alleviation. Adopting the ‘big brother’ concept, the Alliance will help strengthen the public-private partnership for our fellow entrepreneurs. 

  

We are also proud to share that in our first year we have made contributions to worthy humanitarian efforts. Last December 2016, with President Duterte as the guest of honor, we launched the Negosyo Para Kapayapaan sa Sulu which aims to bring peace and socio-economic developments to the province with the help of the big brother companies who supported and funded livelihood programs, housing projects, and other infrastructure. We recently turned over the first Kapatid Village located in Jolo, Sulu. 15 families were given new homes, hoping that they will continue to look for ways to better their lives.

When the Marawi war broke out, we cannot just watch the news for updates. We immediately asked the help of our Kapatids to extend support and assistance to the displaced Maranaos. We were sending boxes of clothes, food and water, mats and blankets, and medicines. We also extended the support to our brave men in uniform deployed in Marawi who sacrificed their lives to protect our people. Our troops received care packages which contain their everyday needs and letters of encouragement.

Next week, we are handing out financial assistance to the bereaved families of the fallen heroes. We cannot do this without the support and camaraderie of the whole Go Negosyo Kapatid private sector community. We are one with the government in bringing prosperity for all Filipinos.

There are more things to do. We are just in our first year working with the Duterte administration. We are glad to collaborate more on development programs that will bring better lives to our countrymen. 

Equipping Agri-Entrepreneurs

Thursday, July 13th, 2017
Go Negosyo, Department of Agriculture and Agriculture Training Institute launches the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program.

Go Negosyo, Department of Agriculture and Agriculture Training Institute launches the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program.

Back in 2014, Go Negosyo had its first Agri-Negosyo Summit in World Trade Center with more than 10,000 participants who attended. It was one of the biggest gatherings of agri-entrepreneurs, farmers, poultry farmers and other agriculture sector stakeholders. Participants were inspired with the success stories of the agri-preneurs. We pursued this summit because I personally believe that this sector has a tremendous potential that is waiting to be maximized. Agriculture is the game changer! If we can focus on developing this sector, this can further strengthen our economy.

The whole day session was a group mentorship with our “agri-preneurs” who have years of experience and expertise. This was our idea of mentoring three years ago.

Fast forward to 2016, we launched the Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) program in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry to provide micro and small entrepreneurs with a closer mentoring session with the help of entrepreneur-mentors who can answer their questions on business and give them techniques and strategies on how to handle and improve their enterprises.

After months of successful roll-outs since August last year, we decided to bring the Kapatid Mentor ME program to the agriculture sector. We collaborated with the Department of Agriculture led by Sec. Manny Piñol and the Agriculture Training Institute to generate another program called the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program (KAMMP). Go Negosyo Adviser for Agriculture Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar leads the implementation of this program.

KAMMP aims to equip agri-preneurs with the proper production technique and to align the agri-preneurs’ mindset and values to successfully run an agri enterprise. KAMMP also teaches agri-preneurs with practical knowledge and strategies to expand their business. Agri-preneurs will also be given the chance to consult mentors about their current business status. And lastly, KAMMP aims to nurture a community of dynamic, competitive, and sustainable agri-preneurs.

KAMMP is similar to the program of KMME with modules on different functional areas of entrepreneurship. But instead of the 10-week program, KAMMP will be a 3-day session covering the 8 modules namely: Entrepreneurial Mind Setting, Marketing, Basic Accounting, Farm Operation Management, Agri Supply and Value Chain, Finance, Obligations and Contracts, and Business Plan Development.  These modules are designed to strengthen our farmers’ business acumen.

Our first KAMMP roll out will be next week in Region 8. From July to November, we will visit different regions for the launch of this agri mentoring program.

As of today, more than 50 agri mentors have pledged their commitment to help mentees improve their agri-enterprises including Toto Barcelona (Harbest), Dr. William Dar (InangLupa Movement), Pablito Villegas (Villegas Eco-Organic Farmville), Josephine Costales (Costales Nature Farms), Flor Tarriela (Flor’s Garden), Babie Atanacio (Terra Verde Eco Farm), Andry Lim (Natural Farmers Institute of the Philippines), Mat Maderazo (Anawin Lay Missions Fdn.), Eddie Canuto (Ephrathah Farms Corporation), Bobby Amores, Troy Bumagat (Trophy Farms Supplies), Eddie Guillen, Pamela Henares (Buro-buro Springs Vermi Farm), Pamela Chan, Mary Ann Sayoc, Michael Caballes (Allied Botanical Corporation), Cherrie Atilano (AGREA), Majella Villaroman (AccelSPROUT), and Willy Arcilla. We would like to invite more qualified agri experts, academe, practitioners to be part of the KAMMP. As mentors, you will have the chance to share your experiences, knowledge and success to our agri mentees.

Why are we bringing mentorship to our farmers? As we all know, not all farmers were able to finish their studies. Instead, they would rather plant crops or till the land in a long run for a small amount in exchange. According to a study in 2014, we have old farmers with an average age of 57. In line with this, we want the younger generation to see that there is money and success in agriculture. If we are to empower the youth to pursue agriculture, we are securing the country’s future. There will be a new batch of agri-preneurs and farmers who will provide us with the food we need every day.

We hope to contribute to the growth of the agri sector. For the first three months of 2017, the agriculture sector grew 5.28%. With the KAMMP, Go Negosyo, DA and ATI will bring more developments to our farmers through mentoring.

This is part of Go Negosyo’s mission of bringing inclusive growth to all sectors. We want all micro and small entrepreneurs, including agri-preneurs to receive the necessary knowledge they need to manage and sustain their businesses.

For interested farmers and agri-preneurs, you may register in your respective Department of Agriculture Regional Offices. You can also get updates on KAMMP through the Go Negosyo website, www.gonegosyo.net.

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Tomorrow will be the ASEAN MSME Development Summit of the Department of Trade and Industry supported by ASEAN Business Advisory Council. The ASEAN MSME Summit will “place the MSMEs in the foreground of the regional agenda.” The Summit will gather entreprneurs, public sector representatives, and ASEAN counterparts to showcase the opportunities for MSMEs. With the theme, “7Ms Towards Prosperous ASEAN MSMEs”, the summit focuses on the 7Ms: Mindset, Mastery, Mentoring, Markets, Money, Machine, and Models which will better equip MSMEs as they reach for success.

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Philippine Franchise Association will have its Franchise Asia Philippines 2017 Conference and Expo on July 19 to 23, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City. They will be showcasing successful franchise models in the country.

Towards Prosperous ASEAN MSMEs

Thursday, July 6th, 2017
ASEAN MSME Development Summit will be on July 14, 2017.

ASEAN MSME Development Summit will be on July 14, 2017.

Oftentimes, when I’m invited to speak in different forums and gatherings, I like to emphasize that the micro, small and medium enterprises are the backbone of the Philippine economy. Truth be told, that is a reality reserved not only for our country, but also for many of our ASEAN brothers. In fact, the statistics read that MSMEs represent about 95%-99% of ASEAN businesses, depending on which country you reside in. In the Philippines, we clock the number to 99.66%. These numbers not only show the agency of MSMEs to developing our nation and region, but the urgency by which we should address it.

Since the start of Go Negosyo, the advocacy has always been about promoting an entrepreneurial nation. Today, it cannot be denied that entrepreneurs can be found everywhere. They permeate every facet of our daily lives. From the street vendors you encounter on you daily commute, to online shops that invade your digital space, entrepreneurs can be found virtually everywhere. However, despite the proliferation of entrepreneurship in our country, why is then that only few benefit from a thriving economy?

When only 0.4% control and truly benefit from the business culture in our country, there is much work to be done. The advocacy now of Go Negosyo has evolved from simply promoting an entrepreneurial culture, into focusing on uplifting the micro and small enterprises to scale-up.

On July 14, 2017, at the Philippine International Convention Center, the Department of Trade and Industry will hold its MSME summit under the guidance of Secretary Ramon Lopez, the event’s keynote speaker. He worked for RFM Corporation for more than 20 years as a senior executive and was the executive director of Go Negosyo. He has been a great partner of mine since the beginning of Go Negosyo’s crusade to help MSMEs scale. Thankfully, through his tireless efforts and dedicated service, MSMEs are increasingly becoming the center of trade and economic policy.

In the months leading up to the MSME Summit, there have been rigorous roundtable discussions conducted with the brightest minds in various fields in order to determine the most important and immediate topics that would become the central focus of the summit. I was fortunate to be a part of these discussions wherein I heard the inputs of experts in the field of entrepreneurship, economics, agriculture, markets and technology.

As a result of these discussions, the pre-determined topics that will be discussed in the summit will tackle the 7Ms Towards a Shared Prosperity in ASEAN, meaning Mindset, Mastery, Mentoring, Markets, Money, Machines, and Models will all be discussed in integrated sessions with panels of experts. I am personally looking forward to joining the keynote forum entitled Promoting ASEAN MSMEs for Prosperity along with my co-panelists—Senator Miguel ZubiriCongressman Peter UnabiaMr. Nestor Espanilla Jr. (Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas); Datuk (Dr.) Hafsah Hashim (CEO, SME Corporation Malaysia); and Mr. Kurt Wee(President, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Singapore).

Panel discussions consist the bulk of the summit and will be graced by experts from across the ASEAN. Session M1: Promoting MSME Development Mindset will discuss ways on how to train and orient entrepreneurs on the right entrepreneurial characteristics and attitude and its panel is made up of Mr. Le Duy Binh (CEO, Economica Viet Nam); Ms. Fatin Arifin (Marketing Manager, bruneihalalfoods); Mr. Cecilio Pedro (Owner, Laomoiyan Corporation); Dr. Benjamin Quiñones(Chairman, Asian Solidarity Economy Council).

Session M2 & M3: Mastery and Mentoring Toward Competitiveness and Resilience will discuss the core principles of entrepreneurship to gain competence and the know-how on effective ways to scan and seize market opportunities; to identify gaps and unmet needs, and, to maximize the entrepreneur’s strengths, passion and experience. Panelists for this session are Ms. Norlela Suhailee (Chair, ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSMEs) (to be confirmed); Mr. Jay Yuvallos (Chair, MSME Working Group, ASEAN Business Advisory Council); and Mr. Francisco Lapid (Entrep Mentor & Best-selling Author).

Session M4: Accessing Domestic and Regional Markets will tackle initiatives on how markets are made more accessible to MSMEs through various platforms like ecommerce and linking small businesses in the global value and supply chains with panelists Datuk (Dr.) Hafsah Hashim (CEO, SME Corporation Malaysia); Ms. Nora Terrado (Chairperson, ASEAN 2017 Committee on Business and Investment Promotions); Mr. U Moe Kyaw (Managing Director, Myanmar Marketing Research and Development); and Mr. Justin Uy (Founder & Owner, Profood International Corp.).

Session M5: Overcoming Money Hurdles is a session on the ways financial inclusion can be achieved for MSMEs and will be discussd by Mr. Frans Purnama(Chairman, Indonesia Microfinance Association); Mr. Jaime Garchitorena (President & CEO, Credit Information Corporation); Ms. Nicole Paterno (Co-Founder & CEO, 1000 Angels); and Ms. Griselda Santos (Senior Financial Specialist, World Bank – IFC (Philippines)).

Lastly, Session M6 & M7: Machines and Proactive Business Models Toward Productive and Responsive MSMEs will discuss initiatives on how MSMEs can access modern machines so as to upgrade technology, raise productivity, and improve marketability of their products and services. The panel will feature Mr. Chankiriroth Sim (Vice President, Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia); Mr. Aushim Merchant (CEO, Alphasakorn Polymer & Energy Co.); Mr. Sam Cristopher Lim (Director. Philippine Franchise Association); and Ms. Jeannie Javelosa (Founder and Director, ECHOstore and GREAT Women).

Looking forward, I can see a very productive and enlightening MSME summit underway. The closing session called Way Forward for ASEAN MSME Development will effectively bring together all the ideas that will come up during the summit and provide direction on how to proceed with MSME development in the region. Secretary Ramon Lopez who is the current ASEAN Economic Minister Chair, will lead his fellow economic ministers namely Hon. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng (Brunei Darusallam), H.E. Pan Sorasak (Cambodia), H.E. Mrs. Khemmani Pholsena (Lao PDR), H.E. Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, and H.E. Kyaw Win (Myanmar) in giving inspirational messages and insights regarding the discussions and summit.

With all these sectors, experts and government representatives coming together in the name of MSME development and prosperity for all, I am truly optimistic for a bright future ahead for our country and ASEAN brothers.

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On July 19, 2017, I will be speaking during the International Conference of the Philippine Franchise Association called Franchise Asia Philippines 2017. I will be giving a keynote address entitled “Replicating Prosperity Across the ASEAN Region” aligned with the conference’s theme “Innovate and Replicate: ASEAN Rising”.

Growth After Mentor ME

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

For the past 12 years, the Go Negosyo advocacy has been focused on mentorship as it is evident in the success of many entrepreneurs. The Go Negosyo program today with the Department of Trade and Industry led by Sec. Ramon Lopez, who was part of Go Negosyo for many years, understands the power of mentorship.

I owe my own personal success to my primary mentors – my parents Joecon and Marivic. They too were mentored by their parents who lived a happy married life and were equally successful in business and advocacy work. My grandfather, Jose Concepcion Sr. started Concepcion Industries. My mother’s parents Salvador Araneta and Victoria Lopez-Araneta both started different ventures — the former started RFM Corporation, the first flour mill in the country, while the latter started Feati university and Feati bank which became City Trust. Both were involved in philanthropy – my grandmother started White Cross and my grandfather served the government. Their values and characteristics were passed on to my parents and now to me.

One of the best lessons I learned from them is the value of family and maintaining a long and happy marriage. My parents, who recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary are one of the few couples who lived a happy married life. They have conquered their trials together. In their celebration of their six decades of marriage, they thanked the Lord for the many years spent growing in love for each other and for service. “Our life has been blessed with many happy memories, good health, good friends, sufficiency of material goods, and an abundance of love for one another. Dear Lord, thank You for all these, Grant that, like your faithful disciples, we may show our love for You by loving and serving one another and others with a selfless love.”

I am proud to say that I was mentored well by my parents for they too experienced great mentorship. This is why I, together with the Go Negosyo community, am pushing for the value of mentorship to micro and small entrepreneurs.

Jose Concepcion Jr. and Marivic Concepcion celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Jose Concepcion Jr. and Marivic Concepcion celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Apart from our on-going initiatives to help areas of extreme poverty and conflict, we are still in touch with the roots of our advocacy – empowering micro and small entrepreneurs.

August last year, we launched the Go Negosyo Kapatid project to help contribute to the micro and small entrepreneurs’ development program of the government. Under Kapatid, Mentor ME was launched as a joint-program of Go Negosyo and the Department of Trade and Industry led by Sec. Ramon Lopez. Since 2016, we’ve started launching the program in different cities and municipalities in the Philippines.

Since then, we have met passionate individuals who became mentees. Some graduated along with the other first batch of menses and some will soon graduate. What is common in these people is their desire to scale up – to become successful. They are eager to learn and apply the lessons they learned. Some of the first batch of graduates from their respective KMME programs made incredible growth.

One of the mentees, Ester Perez, was an employee turned entrepreneur. After many years of hard work, she retired in 2009 and decided to try her luck in entrepreneurship.  With an initial capital of PHP150,000, she started a small bakeshop producing pan de sal. Eventually, she started innovating her products. She added biscocho in different flavours, which became their champion product. Because of her active participation in seminars and trainings provided by DTI, she became one of the first mentees of the Mentor ME in Zamboanga City. After 10 weekly modules, Ester was proud to say that she was inspired by the mentors to pursue her own success despite the challenges that come her way. After attending KMME, her business’ growth started. She expanded her market, continuously innovated products, trained her personnel, and employed additional staff to support the demand.

Another mentee is Gabriela Jimeno of KGD Infinite Fashion. Despite having no business or fashion background, she pursued her passion for fashion accessories. She initially started as an exporter of shell buttons and fashion accessories in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the business failed. She then ventured into production of native delicacies. But still the income was not enough for her family. And then, with PHP1000, she again started her fashion accessories business. After attending local trade fairs and expo, she opened a kiosk and employed 20 employees to help her in creating chic necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Prior to being a mentee, Gabriela shared that she lacked knowledge in financial management, people management, marketing, and innovation. However, as a result of the program, she has learned how to plan and manage her business well. She has already employed more personnel and expanded her business.

Mary Ann Eustaquio initially wanted to pursue her great grandfather’s leather goods business but she realized that this would result to a slow turnover of money. She and her husband, Alan then decided to think of other products made out of cow’s skin. This resulted to the conception of beef chicharon. Despite the new concept, the couple still continued to look for expansion. When their province had a scarcity on balut or duck egg, they pursued duck farming with an initial of 730 ducklings. Since then, they sought assistance from different government agencies, including DTI. Because of this, they became an active participant of seminars and trainings, including KMME. Mary Ann shared that she was motivated by one of the KMME mentors to keep on persevering. She added that through KMME, many doors of opportunities opened. They are now on their way to expanding their duck farm and planning for their leather factory through the loan assistance they recently received from Landbank of the Philippines.

Coming from a Yakan community, Angelita Ilul was equipped with weaving skills since childhood. To them, weaving is not just a hobby but a proof of the community’s artistry. She started weaving bags, table runners, placemats, coasters and wall decors in 1983. But because of financial problems, the business had to stop. She then worked abroad for a few years then returned after saving enough money for capital. Angie’s Yakan Cloth business is one of the beneficiaries of DTI’s Cottage Industry Technology Center which promotes small scale industries for employment and livelihood in communities. Because of this, she became a KMME mentee. After the modules, she is proud to share that she learned important marketing strategies, and proper costing and pricing. She said, after learning the essentials in business, she joined several trade fairs and generated a large income afterwards. Currently, she is planning to exhibit Yakan products to the international market.

Last but not the least is Arnold Sotto who is also called the Sampaloc King of Zamboanga. Sotto’s Delicacies started in the early 90s producing yemas and sampalok candies. They used simple packaging and labels then. Additionally, they experienced several challenges including the lack of raw materials, bad clients, and mismanaged finances. During the course of KMME, Arnold said that the modules on product development, human resource management, business mindset, accounting, and supply value chain are the topics that made the most impact on his business. Currently, his company plans to expand in Metro Manila with the help of the loan from Small Business Corporation.

These are just some of the inspiring stories of our Mentor ME mentees. Despite challenges, they pursued and are continuously aiming for growth and success. We hope that their growth will be nonstop – from micro and small businesses to the next medium and large enterprises. This is the real goal for Mentor ME – to equip MSMEs with business skills and acumen that would help them better manage their enterprises.

Humanitarian Efforts for Marawi

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte together with the Go Negosyo team led by Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar.

President Rodrigo Duterte together with the Go Negosyo team led by Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar.

The sacrifices of our soldiers are well recognized not only by their families but of the whole country. As days pass by in the battle of Marawi, the prayers for the war to end continues.

Last Sunday, the Go Negosyo team led by Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar, flew to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan to repack the items that were donated to the soldiers as part of the Go Negosyo Kapatid for Marawi initiatives. From canned goods, to soaps and other personal hygiene products, our “care packages” were filled to the brim.

Thank you to LBC of Santi Araneta and Sabin Aboitiz and his staff Dodong Sebandal of Pilmico Iligan, all our items were properly shipped and stored before packing. With more than 50 volunteers, items were carefully placed inside the drawstring bags printed with a special message, “We are grateful for your sacrifice. Our prayers go with you. Come back home safe. From Go Negosyo Kapatid Family.”

After packing 5000 bags for our troops, our team then proceeded to their camps in different areas to distribute the care packages. Because of security concerns, there were several check points and only limited people are allowed to enter camps and travel near Marawi. Luckily, our team was escorted by some of the officers.

Handing the care packages to our troops is the highlight of this trip. They were appreciative of the simple packages that we packed. More than the goods, the troops received handwritten letters and messages from different people. These were lovingly provided by Zarah Juan, Myla Villanueva and Atty. Gianna Montinola and their respective teams. Some were written by kids, students in universities, and some from OFWs.

As Ginggay and my team shared, the soldiers were quiet as they read the messages of support. Their aura changed after reading the messages. Soldiers cry happy tears as they learn that many people are praying for their success and safety. If only I can share with you the videos, you would see their tears of joy. Somehow, through this effort, we are boosting their morale and giving hope to them.

Go Negosyo Team together with Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and one of the wounded soldiers.

Go Negosyo Team together with Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and one of the wounded soldiers.

Troops read letters of hope and encouragement together with their Go Negosyo Kapatid Care Packages.

Troops read letters of hope and encouragement together with their Go Negosyo Kapatid Care Packages.

One soldier said, “Hindi biro ang Marawi. Malaking bagay po ito. Maraming salamat po sa inyo.” A lady soldier also shared why she was crying after reading the letter, “Na-touch lang ako na pinagdarasal nila kami.” Col. Reginio also said, “Salamat sa inyo dahil unang beses naming naramdaman na hindi lang naming ito laban kundi laban ng lahat ng Pilipino.”

These letters are not long letters. Some were just written in notepads but contains prayers, bible verses, and words of encouragement. Let me share some letters: “When things get hard, kneel and pray. We may not be with you during these dark days, but you are in my prayers. All that you do for this country would be regarded with respect. We thank you for being our heroes.”

Here is another letter, “Maraming salamat sa inyong sakripisyo upang itaguyod ang kapayapaan at kalayaan. Kayo po ang aming mga bayani. Mabuhay po kayo! Para po sa kinabukasan ng bayan, ng bawat Pilipino. Lubos po naming pinapasalamatan ang lahat ng binigay niyo para sa laban sa Marawi.”

Fourth Mechanized Infantry Battalion posted on their Facebook account: “It may be a simple gesture to you but to the soldiers who are enduring the loneliness of being away from their love ones, constantly staring in the eye of the possibility of not seeing their families in this world again while combating those who seek to harm you. It is heart and soul touching to see citizens who are truly concerned to their soldiers especially reading heart pinching letters from you.”

President Rodrigo Duterte also happened to be visiting the wounded soldiers and awarding them for their service. Our team through the help of Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was able to share the initiative of the private sector led by Go Negosyo Kapatid community. He saw the bags we were distributing and the contents and was pleased to read the printed messages. He said that the soldiers will be glad to receive the items. The president appreciates these humanitarian efforts that many organizations like Go Negosyo are doing.

To us here in Manila or in other safe areas, we may think that these efforts are simple but to those in the battle field, the simplest things matter the most. The love letters for soldiers made the greatest impact more than the products. Yes, they need food, drinks, and medicines, but the thought of having people pray for their safety meant a lot.

We are still uncertain of the days to come in Marawi. We do not want to lose more people because of these acts of violence and terrorism. But together, let us pray that this will end soon with minimum losses.

We would like to thank the Kapatid community: Jaime Zobel de Ayala (Ayala Corporation), Manny Pangilinan (PLDT SMART Group & Metro Pacific Corporation), Tessie Sy-Coson (SM Group), Ramon Ang (San Miguel Corporation), Robina Gokongwei-Pe (The Generics Pharmacy), Lance Gokongwei and Nilo Mapa (Universal Robina Corporation), Federico Lopez (First Philippine Holdings), Michael Tan (Asia Brewery), Santi Araneta (LBC), Sabin Aboitiz (Pilmico Iligan), Kevin Tan (Megaworld Corporation), Chris Po (Century Pacific Food), Corazon Ong and Jerome Ong (CDO Foodsphere Corporation), Tennyson Chen (Bounty Fresh Corporation), Dan Lachica (SEIPI), Alfred Ty (Metrobank), Henry Lim Bon Liong (SL Agritech Corporation), Ernest Cu (Globe), Felix Ang (Auto Nation Group), Jojo Concepcion (Concepcion Industries), Injap Sia and Tony Tan Caktiong (DoubleDragon Properties), Jean Henri Lhuillier (Cebuana Lhuillier), Kettle Korn & RFM Corporation, Mildred Vitangcol (St. Peter’s Chapel/MAP), Evie Abraham and employees (Robinsons Bank), Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, Columbia International Food Products Inc., Alfredo Yao (Zesto Corporation), Nikki Tang (D Mark Beauty), Gina Lorenzana (Unilever Philippines), Cecilio Pedro (Lamoiyan Corporation), Mary Ann Montemayor (Villa Margarita), Steve Benitez (Bo’s Coffee), Rey Go (Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Jun Sy (Tao Corporation), Rommel Sytin (Foton Motor Philippines), Connie Haw (Advance Paper), Tony Panajon (PharmaRex), Josie Go (Karimadon), Bernie Liu (Golden ABC), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation employees, Myla Villanueva (MDI Holdings), Patty Chilip (Standard Insurance), Rex Daryanani (Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Gianna Montinola (Far Eastern University), Maymay Liechtenstein (WomenBiz), Marites Dagdag (Clorox Philippines), Elvie Tan (Ozamiz Chamber of Commerce), Stephen Lee Keng (Anchor Land), Wilfred Gui (Guifts), Siu Ping Par (PR Gaz Haus), Zarah Juan (Greenleaf Ecobags), Paul Rodriguez (Super Shuttle RORO), and Miguel Belmonte (The Philippine STAR).

For interested donors to the #KapatidForMarawi, you may get in touch with the Go Negosyo team:

For all letters or messages of support, you may coordinate it with Jarielle ‎Reyes (09189656333), for all items for donation, please coordinate it with Gelle Jimena (09173127984 or 09998879276), for cash donations, please call Sophia Ramos (09285523285) and for more information, please contact Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar (09175249957 or ‎09088980428).

Go Negosyo Kapatids Send Care Packages

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

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In our battle for peace, we often forget to give credit and gratitude to the brave men who are front liners in protecting our brothers and sisters. Upon reaching the battle ground, their lives are already in danger. As they say, they have their one foot in the grave already. And that is the sad reality brought by these wars.

Our soldiers, marines, and policemen deployed in Marawi are far from their families. While they are in their full battle gear, they too will still need all the support we can all give. So aside from the relief goods that we sent last week to our displaced Maranao brothers and sister, Go Negosyo under the Kapatid for Marawi initiative also started a campaign to gather donations for our troops of around 5000 people. Our Kapatids who have been supportive pledged their contributions to the packages we specifically called “Care Packages.”

Why “Care Packages”? Because we may not be there physically but at least, we are providing them some care and comfort through these products which are often unavailable or least of their concerns but essential to them. These packages include food packs, canned goods, snacks and ready to eat food, bottled water, milk, juice, biscuits, and other food donations.

Aside from these, cellphone loads were also given by PLDT SMART Group and Metro Pacific Corporation led by Manny Pangilinan and Eric Alberto donated two million worth of SMART load for our troops. Additionally, Jaime Zobel de Ayala and Globe will also provide 2.5 million assistance.

Go Negosyo Big Brothers such as Chris Po (Century Pacific Food Corporation), Robina Gokongwei-Pe (Universal Robina), Rey Go of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber, Kevin Tan (Megaworld), Mike Tan (Asia Brewery), Tessie Sy-Coson (SM Group), Baby Villamayor (Villa Margarita) and RFM Corporation donated food and beverage products.

Tennyson Chen of Bounty Fresh will be supplying the camps with kilos of chicken for 10 days and to partner that, Henry Lim Bon Liong donated sacks of Doña Maria rice. Now, the troops will have adequate food for the coming days.

Felix Ang of Auto Nation Group also pledged assistance to this initiative.

But aside from the usual requirement for food, our soldiers also needed personal care products such as shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, and soaps. Myla Villanueva donated soaps for our troops. Underwear, socks and towels were also lovingly provided by Patty Chilip, Tessie Coson, Indian Chamber led by Rex Daryanani and PCCI Ozamiz Chamber led by Elvie Tan.

We hope to give them vitamins and medicines as well and this has been supplied by The Generics Pharmacy.

Wilfred Gui committed water gallon stands as well while Siu Ping Par will be sending gas stoves and LPG canisters for the camps in Marawi.

But what is special about these care packages are the hand written notes we asked from our Go Negosyo network. These letters will contain words of prayers, encouragement, and hope. As they are personally written, we hope that these will at most strengthen the morale of our troops.

Gianna Montinola of Far Eastern University will ask their students to give messages. Myla Villanueva also tapped a museum for kids to provide letters. Zarah Juan started a campaign for support messages. The whole Kapatid movement is working on making their own contributions to this initiative.

We will never know the hardships they are facing in Marawi but through these simple gestures of care, we are at least giving them the support they need. In the ground zero, they are only with the enemies. They are not with their families. So hopefully, these care packages will give them the essentials.

Many have fallen and we are saddened by this. We are still unsure when will this fight end. But to our brave men, please know that you are all in our prayers.

For interested donors to the #GoNegosyoKapatidForMarawi, you may get in touch with the Go Negosyo team: For all letters or messages of support, you may coordinate it with Jarielle ‎Reyes (09189656333), for all items for donation, please coordinate it with Gelle Jimena (0917 312 7984 or 0999 887 9276), for cash donations, please call Sophia Ramos (09285523285) and for more information, please contact Ginggay Hontiveros (09175249957 or ‎09088980428).