Archive for the ‘KAPATID: Angat Lahat’ Category

Alliance Towards Prosperity for All

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

After the success of the Prosperity for All Summit, I feel like there is a need to continue the momentum which we have created to develop concrete and viable plans for the future. It’s not like we just run an event and do nothing afterwards. We are after the continuous and more sustainable MSME development.

Last week, I invited difference business chambers and organizations to be part of the Alliance Towards Prosperity for All. This alliance is created to pursue real inclusivity in the Philippines and hopefully be recreated in other ASEAN countries.

The Alliance Towards Prosperity For All is a long-term private sector-led campaign at the national level to build a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary alliance of organizations and individuals to pursue prosperity for all among ASEAN nations.

The Alliance Towards Prosperity for All is a group of business organizations and individuals who will pursue prosperity among the ASEAN countries.

The Alliance Towards Prosperity for All is a group of business organizations and individuals who will pursue prosperity among the ASEAN countries.

I know many of us have great ideas and plans starting from our own groups and organizations. But I believe that to make it more effective, we have to work together, study the process, and develop a plan that will align with the government’s action plan. For example, in agriculture, we can create projects where we can have areas of collaboration. The goal here is to let the Filipino people know that big businesses are here to support the growth of the majority. We are one with President Duterte in bringing change to this country. Like the President, we only want what is best for the Philippines.

I told them that if we work independently, it might not come across as effective as compared to when we work as a group. There is more power and strength in numbers. During the initial meeting, 22 business chambers were well represented by their presidents and executive directors. Initially, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Management Association of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, Financial Executives of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc., Philippine Franchising Association, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, and Bankers Association of the Philippines attended the short discussion. There are more groups who expressed their support to this initiative and we are expecting more organizations to join this alliance.

Go Negosyo who has been in the forefront of entrepreneurship development in the country for the past 12 years will be the leading organization for this alliance in the Philippines. Go Negosyo has a wide network of entrepreneurs, industry experts, policy influencers, and government officials who can contribute to this alliance.

To make this alliance effective is to focus on key areas of MSME development. We have identified 3Ms of entrepreneurship which we think should be the priority. The 3Ms include Money, Market, and Mentorship.

One of the biggest problems of micro and small entrepreneurs is the lack of access to finance. There are existing microfinance institutions like Dr. Alip’s CARD-MRI and other rural banks who have programs for micro finance but not everyone is granted of loans or financial assistance. In order to start or sustain businesses, MSMEs will need programs such as DTI’s Shared-Service Facilities, or DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program, or DA’s Agricultural Modernization Program which provides tools and technology which will aide MSMEs to increase their productivity and creativity.

DTI recently established the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso which plans to replace the 5-6 scheme in the country.

DWSD’s Conditional Cash Transfer program aims to alleviate poverty through financial assistance for poor families. While this provides basic financial assistance for basic necessities, this can be improved to provide support for micro entrepreneurs. Additionally, DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program provides vocational training and funds to those who are interested to start their micro-enterprises. Although this has been running for more than 5 years now, it has not proven its capacity to fully support the interest of enterprising individuals to scale up. This can also be looked into and studied if we can create additional MSME development programs.

With their innovative products and services, MSMEs will need a strong market where they can introduce and promote. Strengthening market linkages should also be prioritized. Go Negosyo and several organizations promote inclusive business where large corporation include MSMEs in their value chains. By including MSMEs, they are given wider market access and sustainable income.

Our Kapatid, Angat Lahat program links MSMEs to large corporations. As mentioned before, we have introduced Bongabon Nueva Ecija farmers, through the help of Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol, to companies such as SM Supermarkets, Robinson’s Group, Rustan’s and many more. Today, you can see locally grown onions in the biggest supermarkets. We are hopping to create more linkages like this for our micro entrepreneurs.

Most successful entrepreneurs today started small. And they would have not made it to the top if they were not assisted and guided by mentors. I personally was mentored by my father who I think is the best mentor. He has guided me through the process of the business, teaching me everything. MSMEs will need the same kind of support from experts and mentors.

Go Negosyo has partnered with DTI and created the nationwide mentoring program entitled Kapatid Mentor Me which aims to help micro and small entrepreneurs scale up through a weekly coaching and mentoring program with successful business owners, practitioners, and experts which are held in most of the Negosyo Centers nationwide. We are currently rolling out the 2nd batch of Mentor Me launches in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Apart from DTI, Department of Agriculture and Go Negosyo are providing a mentoring program for farmers entitled Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program. Adopting the same program, KAMMP is developed to complement the initiative to sustain and develop agri-business in the country. Many Go Negosyo agri-entrepreneurs have signed up as mentors to help strengthen the agriculture industry.

Lastly, ASEAN Business Advisory Council under Philippine chairmanship is launching its flagship program called ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network which creates a region-wide pool of experts and mentors who will share their knowledge and expertise. Members of AMEN will also help develop teaching modules for MSME development which can be shared and promoted among the 10 ASEAN countries.

If we all work together, we are positive that the MSMEs we have today will become the next industry leaders not just in our country but across the region. Unity is important in creating effective and impactful changes in the lives of our MSMEs.

Collective Effort of Private & Public Sectors

Thursday, May 11th, 2017
Manny Osmena and William Belo supported Kapatid villages under the Negosyo Para sa Kapayapaan sa Sulu. (L-R) Ginggay Hontiveros, Mark Andrew Belo, William Belo, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, Manny Osmena, Tony Meloto, and Atty. Jong Sepulveda.

Manny Osmena and William Belo supported Kapatid villages under the Negosyo Para sa Kapayapaan sa Sulu. (L-R) Ginggay Hontiveros, Mark Andrew Belo, William Belo, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, Manny Osmena, Tony Meloto, and Atty. Jong Sepulveda.

One of the important factors in achieving prosperity is through the unity of all key stakeholders. The collective effort of the private and public sectors will contribute to the development of the country. For our Negosyo Para sa Kapayapaan sa Sulu which we launched last year in Malacañan, we have gathered the support of many entrepreneurs and private organizations supporting the growth in the areas of Sulu.

From classrooms to houses, to mentoring and agriculture training programs, Negosyo para sa Kapayapaan sa Sulu has come a long way. The construction of the Kapatid villages with close to 200 houses are under way. These Kapatid villages are scattered in different municipalities of Sulu such as Jolo, Caluang, Maimbung, Pata, Patikul, Siasi, and Talipao. We also had groundbreaking activities for the classrooms recently.

Manny Osmena and his Hope Now Philippines Foundation committed to donate a total of six million pesos for the construction of a Kapatid village. With this amount, a total of 40 houses will be built in the municipality of Maimbung. Manny has been helping Go Negosyo for the past years and I am glad that he has seen this Sulu project a worthy cause.

Wilcon Depot’s William Belo, also one of the passionate Go Negosyo entrepreneurs, donated another six million pesos for another 40 houses in the municipality of Talipao. He has been very vocal in helping not just our micro and small entrepreneurs, but also those who need help the most. We are positive that despite the insurgencies in Sulu, through these efforts, we are building a safe and progressive environment for the communities.

Aside from providing a safe haven for the families of Sulu, Go Negosyo Kapatids are helping in creating an area conducive for learning for the children. During the initial visits of our team led by Ginggay Hontiveros, we have seen the heartbreaking situations of the schools in Sulu. Dilapidated rooftops, broken chairs, and worn-out blackboards are standard features of all the schools visited. I am saddened that this is what the students are experiencing in Sulu. Although, I am glad for their passion and willingness to learn despite circumstances.

Federation of the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by Mr. Domingo Yap signed an agreement with Go Negosyo for their donation of classrooms in Sulu.

Federation of the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by Mr. Domingo Yap signed an agreement with Go Negosyo for their donation of classrooms in Sulu.

Federation of the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry donated more than 13 million pesos to support the construction of classrooms. Through this, we are providing the students with the right facility for learning. I hope that they will all study hard and pursue their dreams.

I would like to thank all the Big Brother Kapatids who have been supportive of this Go Negosyo initiative. This is the start of the change that we want for Sulu. Moving forward, we plan on helping more poverty-stricken areas in the country.

***

President Duterte appointed a new governor for Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas which is Nestor Espenilla. Nesting, as friends in the business community calls him, is one of the passionate leaders in the government. He was the Deputy Governor of BSP during the leadership of Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. He always attends Go Negosyo events and this, I think, shows his fervent support in the micro and small entrepreneurs development.  Go Negosyo entrepreneurs praise him for being an advocate of inclusive finance.

Dr. Aristotle Alip of CARD-MRI said, “Gov. Nesting is an excellent choice. He is an ardent advocate of inclusive finance.” Many Go Negosyo entrepreneurs are positive that he will be an asset to this country’s economy. I am sure that he will be a strong partner too in all the endeavors concerning our entrepreneurs.

We also would like to thank Gov. Tetangco for his strong support to Go Negosyo all these years. He has been a champion of entrepreneurship as well.

***

ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines is also hosting the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) 2017 on October 6, 2017 in Okada Manila. ASEAN Business Awards is launched to give recognition to enterprises that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN Economy. Aside from the recognition, ABA is created to serve as platform to spread information concerning the ASEAN Economic Community.

We invite ASEAN companies to join the ABA 2017. Applications are now open! For more information, you may visit www.aba2017.com

The Beginning of a Greater Prosperity

Thursday, May 4th, 2017
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chairman Joey Concepcion at the Prosperity for All Summit held last April 28, 2017.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chairman Joey Concepcion at the Prosperity for All Summit held last April 28, 2017.

Last Friday, we had a meaningful Prosperity for All Summit. It was a success with more than 1000 guests who attended the whole day discussion in pursuit of ways to achieve real and inclusive prosperity. We are grateful for the attendance of Malaysia Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak and Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.). We also had Vice President Leni Robredo who gave an important message on how we can put the welfare of MSMEs in the center of inclusive growth. Myanmar also sent their Union Minister for Planning and Finance H.E. Kyaw Win to represent their State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi. H.E. Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce of the Kingdom of Cambodia also joined the session tackling mentorship.

For those who weren’t able to catch the summit, let me share with you the message I shared to all our guests:

Good morning,

I would like to greet our special guests of course, Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Secretary Bebot Bello, our favorite Labor Secretary, and of course, Senator Miguel Zubiri and Senator Bam Aquino. These two senators have been prime movers in the Senate in helping micro, small and medium enterprises. Sen. Bam Aquino was the one who enacted the Go Negosyo Act which led to the rise of more than 460 Go Negosyo stores. Thank you, Bam.

And of course, my partner, Ramon Lopez, stop the interview. Come in. Ramon Lopez has been with Go Negosyo for so many years. When we started, he was my Executive Director, and if not for him, Go Negosyo would not be here today. And today, he is the trade secretary, fighting for many of our small and micro entrepreneurs.

Of course, I would also like to greet our new partner, Mr. Okada. Mr. Okada will host all the next three summits, and the ASEAN Business Awards, in his new Okada Manila Hotel.

I would also like to thank our sponsors here — of course, Tessie Sy-Coson of SM-BDO, San Miguel Corporation and Ramon Ang, ICTSI, PLDT and many other sponsors out there who believed that ASEAN is the way to move forward.

I would like to give a special recognition to Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. She was the one who appointed me as a Presidential Adviser during her time. And that was the start of the Go Negosyo movement. If not for her, we all would not be in this room today.

I would also like to recognize my father Jose Concepcion, Jr. My father was a great mentor, although he has lapses in his memory, he has always been my inspiration all these years. 10 years ago, he was the Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council. And many of the members of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council who are all here today, were his colleagues. 10 years later, I find myself as the chairman of this year’s ASEAN Business Advisory Council. Talk about destiny and talk about mentorship.

Many of you here, within the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, and all the chambers have been very supportive of the private sector’s initiative of really changing the lives of the Filipino people. This event with the ASEAN BAC’s theme “Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All” is the most important thing in my mind that the ASEAN has to achieve. Why? If not all countries would benefit from the integration of ASEAN in the next 50 years, ASEAN might not last.

If only few countries benefit and the rest will struggle, nothing will happen. Creating prosperity for all and leaving no nation behind is to me the most important objective of ASEAN. Each brother helping one another in achieving a better life for their nation and their citizens.

Our President Rodrigo Duterte has, as he said, surprisingly won the election. Which means many Filipinos out there, do feel that they have not been part of the growing economy for the past years. We have seen that 99.6% of the entire business community, belong to the MSME sector and this goes to all other ASEAN countries who are also in the same boat where we are in.

We have appreciated countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore who have really progressed. Many of them, have lowered their poverty levels remarkably, especially Vietnam.

The biggest challenge in our country is agriculture. To me, agriculture is the game changer. It is what will change the lives of many Filipinos. We belong to the 0.4% of the entire business community. We can make decisions that will affect the lives of many people. Many of us control power, real estate, labor, ports, etc. But why are we all here as human beings? It is about time that we try to change and balance their needs and our own needs to really practice inclusivity.

As I shared with many of the businessmen and entrepreneurs in this room, being publicly listed and being in control of our business and all of that is sometimes hard since we have to share the profits we have because of our investors. We are always faced with the challenge to grow, to expand and to meet certain profit requirements. But then, how do we balance that with inclusive growth? We see SM, Rustan’s, Robinsons and other supermarkets buying more from our farmers. That is what we need. Many of you in this room, can control the destiny of your own suppliers by mentoring them.

The ASEAN BAC has adopted mentorship as its main deliverable this year. And the power of mentorship as we have seen it—you yourselves, your own parents who have mentored you to where you are today– made you successful. What made me successful is my grandparents, my parents, my school and my business partners who are with me today. And of course, the entire Kapatid movement that we have all started. Now is the chance to help.

In our country, the Department of Trade and Industry with Sec. Ramon Lopez and Go Negosyo have a massive mentoring program. We wish that this program will progress and really help our less fortunate entrepreneurs. But it will really take time and resources like in many other ASEAN countries.

I believe in the power of mentorship. This year, by November, the ASEAN BAC will launch the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN). This will be composed of hundreds of entrepreneurs from each country who will share their insights and knowledge on their respective fields and strengths.

Again, the event is not going to be successful if we will not achieve prosperity for all. We invited all of you today because we believe that you can connect and help build the unity to start changing the lives of many of our micro and small entrepreneurs. In the end, life is short, we are not here to last or keep our wealth forever. As we age, I’m aging and I’m sure many of you are aging as well, we all have to think of our next life and what it will mean. I guess, wealth, when used properly to help other people is what is asked of us. To those who are given the most, the expectation is far greater. I request that this hopefully is the beginning of really creating greater prosperity for every citizen of the 10 ASEAN countries.

Thank you!

Bringing Prosperity for All

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

We would like to apologize for not being able to accommodate all the interested participants to the summit. We received an outstanding confirmation of around 2000 guests who are all eager to be part of this summit. Due to limited space and of course to ensure the security of our special guests, we were not able to accept all guests. However, the summit will be covered by ANC, Bloomberg, CNN and other media organization. You may view the livestreaming at tinyurl.com/prosperityLIVE or fb.com/gonegosyoofficial.

As the first Prosperity for All Summit hosted by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council approaches it is a great time to be reminded that at the heart of this event are the Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) who comprise 95-99% of the ASEAN business community. These enterprises account to 25-58% of the overall ASEAN GDP making them a valuable part of the economy, as they continue to help alleviate poverty through employment opportunities and business innovations. Through partnerships with large enterprises, MSMEs continue to contribute to the economy both in the rural and urban communities.

In line with President Duterte’s goal for inclusive growth through MSME development programs that empower youth and women entrepreneurship, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council is also focused in promoting and developing these enterprises to bring them across the ASEAN regions and the global market.

I am both honored and glad that leaders from our country and across ASEAN have shown interest in this event. I’m looking for forward to meet Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak who has confirmed his attendance to the summit.

Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak and Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.)

Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak and Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.)

Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak and Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.)

Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak and Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.)

Since 1996, Malaysia has been engaging in MSMEs and Startups by creating programs aimed to develop their skills and provide them with business opportunities. These programs are established through the SME Corporation Malaysia which formulates overall policies and strategies, as well as provides advisory services for SMEs. We hope to be able to get insights and further develop the programs for MSMEs in the Philippines through their strategies as well. The importance to further develop these programs for poor are an utmost concern, as Prime Minister Razak once said “In our national discourse and in pursuing our national agenda, we must never leave anyone behind.”

Also attending the event is Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.). Thailand, whose 2.7 million enterprises comprise 98.5% of SMEs, is focusing on four areas for the improvement of established enterprises, start-ups and social enterprises. These main areas of focus are on innovations to boost business value, marketing strategies, cutting cost efficiency while increasing revenue and providing financial support for expansion of businesses. Given that most SMEs in Thailand are also from the agricultural and agro-industrial sectors, these areas are the ones that need the most support and guidance. True to what Prime Minister Chan-o-cha said “We will work for the benefit of all and of future generations while leaving no one behind.” Thus I am also looking forward to share certain strategies already being implemented in the Philippines to further improve existing programs in our country.

These two leaders will be delivering keynote speeches in the summit as well.

With the theme, “Driving growth through micro and small entrepreneurs in Trade, Services and Agriculture”, this Summit aims to pursue genuine and inclusive growth and prosperity for the ASEAN peoples. It is important to give emphasis on the goal for inclusive growth as leaders from different fields both from the private and public sector are coming together to attend the event.

The one-day program will comprise of five sessions which will feature discussions from prominent speakers.

Session 1 discussion will discuss about ‘Creating an Enabling Environment in Achieving Prosperity for All’. The session will feature former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Sen. Bam Aquino, ASEAN Economic Ministers Chair and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Royal Group Vice President Mr. Rami Sharaf, and Inang Lupa Movement President Dr. William Dar.

‘Strengthening the one ASEAN market to access global markets’ will be the topic for Session 2 which will be discussed by Sen. Miguel Zubiri, International Container Terminal Services Chairman and President Mr. Enrique Razon, Sakae Holdings Ltd. Founder and Chairman and ASEAN BAC Singapore Member Mr. Douglas Foo, and Undersecretary of the Trade and Industry Promotion Group Nora Terrado.

For session 3, one of the major challenges for MSMEs which is funding, will be the topic of the discussion entitled ‘Opening up innovative and inclusive financing options for micro and small entrepreneurs’. Mr. Alex Buenaventura of Landbank of the Philippines, Dr. Raymond Kwong of Silverlake Axis Group, Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip of Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Mr. Jojo Flores of Plug and Play Technology Center will be sharing their insights in this session.

The fourth session will discuss on ‘Establishing efficient business practices through disruptive technology and innovation’ through the speakers DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena, Lazada Philippines CEO Inanc Balci and YCH Group Chairman and Member of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Dr. Robert Yap.

The last session will be on initiating the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN). This program of the ASEAN BAC aims to provide a private-public partnership platform where mentors and world class teaching modules for MSME empowerment can be developed and actively shared among ASEAN Member States (AMS). To discuss this call to action for all mentors and enablers, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion will be joined by Ms. Teresita Sy-Coson of SM Investments Corporation and ASEAN BAC Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries President and ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines Member George Barcelon, Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan of Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), and Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohd Munir Bin Abdul Majid of Bank Muamalat Berhad and ASEAN BAC Malysia.

We will also be joined by Vice President Leni Robredo. We have also invited Ministers from Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Cambodia to be part of the sessions.

Enablers from both the private and public sector will be attending the summit with the common goal of bringing prosperity for all, thus it is only apt to also initiate the initial discussion of the ASEAN Business Advisory council’s regional mentorship program (AMEN), which will serve as an avenue for the heads of states and leaders to share their strategies in achieving inclusive growth for the whole ASEAN community.

Indeed, it is only through unity in striving for a common goal can we achieve prosperity for all.

Prosperity for All Summit

Thursday, April 20th, 2017
ASEAN Business Advisory Council hosts the first Prosperity for All Summit on April 28, 2017.

ASEAN Business Advisory Council hosts the first Prosperity for All Summit on April 28, 2017.

As you all know, Philippines is the host of ASEAN and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary.

10 years ago, my father was the chairman of ASEAN. 10 years after, I am in the same position as Chairman of ASEAN Business Advisory Council. We have prepared a whole list of activities for this year’s chairmanship. The goal is to help more micro and small entrepreneurs. As you all know MSME development is close to my heart. For the past 12 years, we at Go Negosyo have been empowering and helping the micro and small entrepreneurs out of poverty. This year, ASEAN Business Advisory Council’s theme is Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All. Just like President Duterte’s goal of bringing inclusive growth in the country, we at ASEAN BAC supports the promotion of inclusive growth, not only in the Philippines but also across the ASEAN region.

The ASEAN Business Advisory Council is hosting the first Prosperity for All Summit on April 28, 2017 at the City of Dreams Manila. With the theme, “Driving growth through micro and small entrepreneurs in Trade, Services and Agriculture”, this Summit aims to pursue genuine and inclusive growth and prosperity for the ASEAN peoples.  At the heart of this summit are the MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) where majority remain within the poverty line and whose means of livelihood and economic future remain uncertain despite developments in the establishment of the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community).

We all know that 99.6% of the businesses in the Philippines are micro, small, and medium enterprises. It is a must for all of us to create an enabling environment where enterprises will be empowered to improve their products and services and compete in not just in the ASEAN market but also globally.

I am glad to share with you that Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak and Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.) have both confirmed their attendance to the event. As we get closer to the date of the event, we are positive that we can get more leaders to attend.

We are glad to have Vice President Leni Robredo as well.

Session 1 discussion will feature former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Sen. Bam Aquino, Royal Group Vice President Mr. Rami Sharaf, and Inang Lupa Movement President Dr. William Dar. We have also invited Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. They will be discussing the topic: Enabling Environment to Achieve Prosperity for All.

International Container Terminal Services Chairman and President Mr. Enrique Razon, Sakae Holdings Ltd. Founder and Chairman and ASEAN BAC Singapore Member Mr. Douglas Foo, and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries President and ASEAN BAC Philippines Member Mr. George Barcelon will share their insights on the topic: Strengthening the One ASEAN Market to Access Global Markets. We have also invited Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez to join the discussion.

Funding, one of the major challenges for MSMEs, will be discussed by Mr. Alex Buenaventura of Landbank of the Philippines, Dr. Raymond Kwong of Silverlake Axis Group, Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip of Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Mr. Jojo Flores of Plug and Play Technology Center.

Forum on innovation and technology will feature Department of Science and Tecnology Sec. Fortunato Dela Pena, YCH Group Executive Chairman and ASEAN BAC Singapore Chair Dr. Robert Yap, Lazada Philippines CEO Mr. Inanc Balci and ANZ Laos CEO Ms. Anna Green.

ASEAN BAC will also be launching the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN), which aims to provide a private-public partnership platform where mentors and world class teaching modules for MSME empowerment can be developed and actively shared among ASEAN Member States (AMS). To discuss this call to action for all mentors and enablers, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion will be joined by Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Ms. Teresita Sy-Coson of SM Investments Corporation and ASEAN BAC Philippines, Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan of Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), and Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohd Munir Bin Abdul Majid of Bank Muamalat Berhad and ASEAN BAC Malysia.

The fora will be moderated by well-known journalists such as Rico Hizon of BBC World News, Cathy Yang of ANC, former Business News Head of ANC Coco Alcuaz, Pia Hontiveros-Pagkalinawan of CNN Philippines, and Maria Ressa of Rappler.

We are happy to have the interest of many entrepreneurs, enablers, advocates, and other supporters. Some students are also interested to be part of the Summit. We thank partners and sponsors for their outpouring support. Through this summit, we aim to encourage entrepreneurs and enablers alike to help bring prosperity for all sectors in ASEAN region.

Kapatid Agri Mentor Me

Thursday, April 6th, 2017
Go Negosyo and Department of Agriculture sealed their partnership for the Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program (KAMMP) (In photo L-R Ginggay Hontiveros, Go Negosyo Adviser on Agripreneurship, Dr. William Dar, Go Negosyo Adviser, Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion, Sec. Manny Pinol, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, DA Undersecretary for Marketing, and Luz Tapusok, Director of Agricultural Training Institute).

Go Negosyo and Department of Agriculture sealed their partnership for the Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program (KAMMP) (In photo L-R Ginggay Hontiveros, Go Negosyo Adviser on Agripreneurship, Dr. William Dar, Go Negosyo Adviser, Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion, Sec. Manny Pinol, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, DA Undersecretary for Marketing, and Luz Tapusok, Director of Agricultural Training Institute).

In our mission to mentor all entrepreneurs in different sectors, we are forging partnerships with different institutions and government offices to reach even the low-lying communities of the country. Agriculture is one of the sectors I personally want to equip and empower. Why? Because as an agricultural country, I know that we have the resources and the market for crops and agri products. We are also blessed with farmers and fishermen who work hard to provide us with the food we see in markets.

This is why we need to mentor them. We need them to improve their practices, teach them techniques, and introduce them to agricultural technologies. And hopefully, their sons and daughters prepared with an enterprising mindset will become the next successful agripreneurs.

Last Monday, Go Negosyo sealed its partnership with the Department of Agriculture led by Sec. Manny Piñol. This has been in the works since we launched the Kapatid, Angat Lahat program in August 2016. Under this partnership, we are launching the Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program (KAMMP) which applies the same model of Kapatid Mentor Me, a 12-week coaching session for micro and small entrepreneurs.

KAMMP wishes to take the same proven and enabling formula as the KMME and apply it to the context of Agripreneurs. The DA is mandated to promote agricultural development by providing the policy framework, public investments, and support services needed for domestic and export-oriented business enterprises. Thus, KAMMP was developed with Go Negosyo as a coaching program for Agriculture as a complement to the DA’s initiatives to help sustain and scale up Agri-business in the country.

The program’s modules will be taught by Agri-business Industry practitioners with an extensive knowledge in their field. The objectives of the program are to equip Agripreneurs and farmers with the proper production techniques, mindset and values, practical knowledge and strategies, and consultation services to foster successful and sustainable agri-enterprises. Mentees for the program will be selected from farmers’ cooperatives by the respective Regional Directors of the DA.

During the signing ceremony, we were joined by Merly Cruz, Adviser for MSME Development, and Ginggay Hontiveros, Adviser for Agripreneurship. Also present were Go Negosyo Agri Mentors led by Dr. William Dar, Henry Lim Bon Liong, Toto Barcelona, Pamela Chan, Flor Tarriela, Mike Caballes, Cherrie Atilano, Vix Madlangbayan, Sandy Montano, Babie Atanacio, Mat Maderazo and Bobby Amores.  The Department of Agriculture is represented by Secretary Manny Piñol, together with Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan of Operations and Undersecretary Berna Romulo Puyat of Marketing. Also present to witness the signing is the Director for ATI Ms. Luz Tapusok and members of the ATI, AFID and AMAS teams. ATI is integral to the implementation of the KAMMP program in all regions of the country.

The MOU Signing was followed with a discussion by the two parties for several initiatives of agri development in the countryside, as well as the proposed ASEAN Agri Summit slated for October 2017.

We are excited to share this good news to our farmers! With this program, we wish for a stronger agri sector in the coming years equipped not only with the positive entrepreneurial mindset but also with agricultural knowledge and equipment.

Prior to this official partnership, we have been collaborating with Sec. Piñol and his team for some projects including the linkage of onion farmers to big brothers. Last February, farmers from Bongabon Nueva Ecija met with some representatives of the big companies to share their plights and offer their produce to them. Like big brothers, companies were quick to extend their support to Sec. Piñol and the farmers. SM Group and Robinsons among others are continuously offering the local onions in their supermarkets because of this coordination. We are working on bringing more vegetables and fruits to the nearest groceries, and cutting the unnecessary processes in the value chain.

Apart from this, our Sulu Project is mainly because of Sec. Piño. He was the one who tapped us to make the programs in Sulu a reality. When President Duterte asked Sec. Piñol to create development programs in Sulu, Sec. Piñol asked me to help thus the birth of the Sulu Project. With the outpouring support of the big brothers, we already had groundbreaking ceremonies last month to start the construction of classrooms and houses in different areas of the province.

With the full support now of DA, we hope to bring more livelihood and micro and small entrepreneurship development programs to our agri players. There are a lot of successful entrepreneurs who found greener pastures in agriculture and we want to create more successful agripreneurs. Together, DA and Go Negosyo will bring prosperity to our agriculture community!

Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

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Today, we are recognizing the latest batch of Filipina entrepreneurs who have shown great examples to the next generation. Many of you would ask, why are we doing this? Why are we recognizing women entrepreneurs? We are honoring them because aside from taking care of their families, they still have time to pursue their dreams and lead enterprises.

We are fortunate to have President Rodrigo Duterte today to witness and hand the trophies to all the awardees. For the past years, we usually hold this awarding ceremony in World Trade Center in front of thousands of Filipina entrepreneurs and students. But this year is special.  With the presence of the President, the awarding ceremony will be in Malacanang.

Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez will also attend the ceremony. I also asked Tessie Sy-Coson, Vice Chairperson of SM Investments Corporation, and one of the leading women Filipina entrepreneurs today to join us. I’m sure there are many young women who look up to her.

We are recognizing micro and small entrepreneurs because 99.6% of the enterprises in the country are from this sector. Despite their size, they are committed to reach their own success. In many seminars and Mentor Me programs of Go Negosyo, most of the attendees are women who run retail shops or food establishments. By awarding fellow micro and small entrepreneurs, we hope that others will see them as an inspiration to continue their journey and flourish in their industry.

In our mission to promote inclusive growth, we are recognizing two Filipina entrepreneurs with inclusive business models which have helped low-income communities including and most especially our farmers. As inclusive business category awardees, we want them to become ambassadors and promote the good advocacy of this type of business model.

We also have one youth awardee. Today, many students opt to become entrepreneurs after their graduation. And that is great. Because when Go Negosyo was starting, entrepreneurship is not one of the top career choices in our country. Through our youth awardee, Go Negosyo is reaching out to the young generation and hoping to instill in them the entrepreneurial spirit.

As mentioned last week, we are also recognizing women entrepreneurs who have also enabled and empowered fellow women entrepreneurs. They served as guides and mentors to many entrepreneurs in the community and because of them, these entrepreneurs were led to the right track of doing business.

To complete the list of awardees this year, let me share with you the women entrepreneurs who have shown that positive mindset, plus great passion, multiplied by extreme persistence is the right formula of success. These medium-large entrepreneurs led companies and brands and survived challenging business world. They are inspiring because of their heart for their craft and perseverance.

First on our list of medium-large entrepreneurs is Felicia Atienza who leads Chinese International School Manila (CISM). Restaurateur Ana De Ocampo is also an awardee because of her dedication to the food industry by establishing Wildflour Café and Bakery. When Havaianas arrived in the Philippines, it is because of Anne Gonzalez of Terry S.A and she is included in this year’s batch.

An advocate of local art, Sheree Gotuaco is also one of the awardees this year. Sheree is the CEO of Omnimoda International with brands including Freeway, Ensembles, and Solo. In this category we also selected an intrapreneur. Intrapreneurs are people working in an organization with an outstanding entrepreneurial mindset. For this, we selected Gina Lorenzana, Vice President for Personal Care of Unilever Philippines. Considered as one of the inspiring Filipina entrepreneurs today, a former domestic helper Rebecca Bustamante Mills now leads Chalre Associates, a multinational recruitment firm for senior management officers.

Adding to the list of awardees is Mary Ann “Baby” Montemayor of Villa Margarita Hotel & Catering. Villa Margarita started as a hotel in 1991 and eventually ventured into catering in 1993 to small private functions. Last on the medium-large entrepreneurs is Evelyn Palomo of the Great Image. Great Image is known nationwide for its quality and professional photography services.

We are also honoring Filipina entrepreneurs who are in the industry for many years, have surpassed challenges, celebrated triumphs and made their own legacies.

First to be called as a Go Negosyo Filipina Legacy is Corazon Dayro Ong of CDO Foodsphere. CDO is known as one of the most established meat manufacturing brands in the country.

Mercedes Gotianun, Chairman Emeritus of Filinvest Development Corporation is also one of the legacy awardees this year. Together with her late husband, Andrew Gotianun Sr., they led the company to greater heights throughout the years.

Rosalind Wee of the W Group of Companies is also one of the legacy awardees. Starting from an agribusiness, she has ventured into other areas including realty and development.

Last but definitely not the least is Nanay Coring or Socorro Ramos. At 94, we consider her as one of the oldest Filipina entrepreneurs in the country. The story of National Bookstore has been shared many times over the years but it still continues to inspire aspiring and young entrepreneurs. She is really an example of a legacy entrepreneur!

These are the Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs of 2017. I hope that through this, we can inspire the next batch of entrepreneurs in the country!

Wonder Women

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

wonder woman
Whenever I look at my mom or my wife, I am amazed by their capacities as a woman.  Their duties as a daughter, mother, wife, or sister coupled by the other hats they wear in their lives impresses me. Their passion, dedication, and more so their sacrifices are commendable. They are definitely doing a great job!

Many Filipina entrepreneurs today are also leading companies and conquering industries in the best of their abilities. That is why Go Negosyo, for the past 12 years, are recognizing Filipina entrepreneurs who are positive, passionate, and personifies the “panalo” attitude. More than 200 Filipina entrepreneurs have been awarded over the past years and this year, we are adding 26 Filipina entrepreneurs to our list of Filipina inspirations.

Let me share the first batch of Go Negosyo’s Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017 who will be awarded on March 30, in Malacanan Palace.

(Top L-R) Women Enabler: Pacita Juan, Sen. Cynthia Villar & Doris Ho, (Bottom L-R) Inclusive Business: Felicitas Pantoja, Rachel de Villa and Youth: Arizza Nocum

(Top L-R) Women Enabler: Pacita Juan, Sen. Cynthia Villar & Doris Ho, (Bottom L-R) Inclusive Business: Felicitas Pantoja, Rachel de Villa and Youth: Arizza Nocum

Young entrepreneur and advocate Arizza Ann Nocum spearheaded the KRIS Library, an organization which aims to promote peace through education. KRIS or Kristiyano-Islam Library is an education center which provides students and children in poverty and conflict-stricken areas in Mindanao with books, computers, and other educational resources. Aside from KRIS Library, she also founded the Good Karma shirts which sells t-shirts to raise funds for different foundations and organizations. At a young age of 22, Arizza is one of the inspiring young leaders in this country.

In our interest to promote inclusive business models, we are recognizing Rachel De Villa and Felicitas Pantoja. Rachel de Villa leads Cropital, a crowdfunding platform that aims to connect investors to farmers. Anyone can help fund our farmers through a form of investment. She has developed a technology to help alleviate the lives of our farmers. Felicitas Pantoja, on the other hand, encourages peace through the use of coffee. Through Coffee for Peace, she helps improve the lives of coffee farmers through their coffee-growing model.

We are recognizing Filipina entrepreneurs and advocates who have empowered many micro and small entrepreneurs (MSEs). Doris Ho, Pacita Juan, and Sen. Cynthia Villar are the women enablers this year. Doris Ho, who led the APEC SME Summit, have empowered MSEs through her various efforts. Pacita Juan, through her ECHOStore, has provided a way for MSEs reach a wider market. She is also an advocate and supporter of the coffee industry. Sen. Cynthia Villar, as we all know, she has various livelihood and employment efforts in their Villar Sipag Foundation. She has been supporting programs for microentrepreneurs and have prioritized them in her legislations.

(Top to Bottom L-R) Micro-Small Entrepreneurs: Evellin Daytao, Honie Krizia Navor, Arlene Mabute, and Cherrie Atilano.

(Top to Bottom L-R) Micro-Small Entrepreneurs: Evellin Daytao, Honie Krizia Navor, Arlene Mabute, and Cherrie Atilano.

For the micro and small category, we have 8 Filipina entrepreneurs who will be recognized. First on this list is Cherrie Atilano, the founding farmer of AGREA Philippines which aims to develop a model for sustainable agriculture livelihood programs and environment for farmers, fishermen and their families.  Imelda Dagus, a former OFW, is now a passionate entrepreneur through her Dennis Coffee Garden café. Through her business, she is uplifting the Tausug heritage and Sulu Coffee.

Evellin Daytao who owns Daytao’s Native Cakes is also an awardee this year. She has found her passion in highlighting her province Tarlac through the use of native ingredients in her Filipino delicacies and snacks. Buro Buro Springs Vermi Farm led by Pamela Henares has introduced efforts in organic farming industry through vermiculture and vermicomposting. Her farm is considered as a premier destination for these organic practices.

Maria Lydia Lomibao is also an awardee for her innovation of pili nut into revolutionary products through her business J. Emmanuel Pastries or called House of Pili. Arlene Mabute, owner of Mabute Lumpia Wrapper & Cheese Stick Maker turned into a successful entrepreneur with only a 300.00 capital. She may have experienced many trials but with her resilience, she is now supplying lumpia wrappers and cheese sticks in different markets.

Another young entrepreneur who is part of this year’s roster of awardees is Honie Krizia Navor. She is leading the HK Stone Craft Trading which sells and installs imported granite and tiles and builds homes and other constructions. Last but not the least on the micro-small category is Ester Shiela Vitto who owns Bahag Footwear and Repair Shop. She innovated the use of car tires as slippers and sandals.

(Top to Bottom L-R) Micro-Small Entrepreneurs: Pamela Henares, Imelda Dagus, Lydia Lomibao, and Ester Vitto.

(Top to Bottom L-R) Micro-Small Entrepreneurs: Pamela Henares, Imelda Dagus, Lydia Lomibao, and Ester Vitto.

These are just 14 out of 26 awardees this year. I will be sharing with you the next batch next week.

These women awardees embody the modern-day successful Filipino women with an enterprising attitude, passion beyond measure, an innovative outlook on doing business, and the heart in contributing to inclusive growth of our nation.

We are proud of their personal achievements in their entrepreneurial journey. We hope they can inspire a new batch of women entrepreneurs to move and create positive changes in the country.

Prosperity for the ASEAN Region

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

“The economic integration effort would be meaningless if the economic rewards of growth and prosperity will exclude the MSMEs which account for almost 95-99% of the total enterprise across ASEAN.”

This is what I have shared to the economic ministers during the ASEAN Economic Ministers Retreat last week in relation to ASEAN BAC’s theme of “Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All.” I, together with some ASEAN Business Advisory Council members, presented the agenda of the council to the economic ministers on how we can all bring about prosperity in the ASEAN region. As mentioned before, we want to bring inclusive growth not just for the selected few but for all sectors across 10 countries.

The retreat and related meetings was successfully hosted by the AEM Chair, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez and his team in DTI. This is just one of the many activities of DTI this year as Philippines hosts ASEAN for its 50th anniversary.

ASEAN Business Advisory Council chairman Joey Concepcion together with ASEAN Economic Ministers Chairman Secretary Ramon Lopez during the engagement of ASEAN BAC Members and ASEAN Economic Ministers last week.

ASEAN Business Advisory Council chairman Joey Concepcion together with ASEAN Economic Ministers Chairman Secretary Ramon Lopez during the engagement of ASEAN BAC Members and ASEAN Economic Ministers last week.

During the engagement with the economic ministers, I explained the three key pillars of ASEAN BAC. First, we are promoting Inclusive Business in the region where large corporations will play as big brothers to the micro and small entrepreneurs. Big brother companies will help these small players have access in their value chain and the global market.

Second, aside from giving micro entrepreneurs access to a bigger market, we are also pushing for the goal of mentorship for them through the help of successful ASEAN businessmen. These entrepreneurs can provide not only their inspiring stories but also essential business knowledge and acumen.

Inclusive Business and Mentorship are relevant to Go Negosyo as these are also the things that we are pushing for since we launched the Kapatid, Angat Lahat program in August 2016.

Lastly, ASEAN BAC aims to continue its government interventions in policy reform and executing programs consistent with the Strategic Action Plan for MSMEs which was launched by the ASEAN Leaders in 2015.

Dr. Mohd Munir Majid, ASEAN BAC Chair for Malaysia, also participated in the discussion by giving a presentation on the initiatives of ASEAN BAC to create a platform where small investors can help fund MSMEs in the region. This can be done through lending or investments. He said that there are more small investors who are looking for credit-worthy MSME projects which have growth potentials in the ASEAN market. He added that this will need the collaboration of banks who can provide the credit evaluation.

Malaysia is also pursuing a finance platform for MSMEs called Growth Accelerator Exchange or GAX. It is a digital platform that provides basic solutions necessary for MSMEs growth – ecosystem e-financing, e-payment platform integration, and ASEAN wide e-logistics services.

Many micro and small entrepreneurs are surviving entrepreneurs because they lack the needed financial support. So these programs of funding for them will be a boost to their growth and development. In our country, there are many microfinance companies such as CARD-MRI and banks which have funding programs for micro entrepreneurs.

ASEAN BAC Chair for Singapore, Dr. Robert Yap, also discussed the plans of ASEAN BAC in completing and strengthening the ASEAN Connectivity. Four projects comprise this plan which includes Malaysia’s Financial Connectivity project, Laos’ Laos Connect project, Philippines and Indonesia’s ASEAN Maritime Connectivity through the RORO Project, and lastly Philippines’ ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network.

The ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network or AMEN gathers a pool of mentors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders across ASEAN who will provide mentorship to micro and small entrepreneurs. We are creating a group of mentors already from the previous winners of ASEAN Business Awards. Soon, we will be launching this in November.

ASEAN BAC’s Executive Director Gil Gonzales updated the ASEAN Economic Ministers on the progress of deeply involving the private sector in private-public consultative working groups which addresses the sectors of healthcare, agri-food, logistics, tourism, and retail. He said, “ASEAN BAC is happy to report the very enthusiastic support of other business council dialogue partners in taking leadership in key areas as trade facilitation, financial inclusion and integration, and innovation.”

We are glad to hear the commendation of the ASEAN Economic Ministers most especially AEM Chair, Sec. Lopez. They appreciate the strong involvement of the private sector in building a more inclusive region for MSMEs. We are one with the economic ministers in making the ASEAN Economic Community work and be felt by the Filipinos and other ASEAN members.

Sec. Lopez said, “Public-private sector engagement not only reduces the gap of understanding of the private sector and the general public on ASEAN, it also promotes intra-ASEAN and global trade and investment and reduces current and future impediments faced business enterprises.”

It is an exciting year for the Philippines. Hopefully all plans will materialize and create a stronger and inclusive ASEAN region.

First Seeds of Hope in Sulu

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Sulu—an island province of lush greens, bountiful waters, and great potential. Yet it is also beset by conflict and poverty. Such is the irony that exists there. Last February 23, the Go Negosyo team led by Ginggay Hontiveros and representatives of our Big Kapatids visited the island of Sulu to witness the first seeds of promise being planted. This is in fulfillment of the pledges made last December 19, 2016 in the presence of our beloved President Rodrigo Duterte, DA Secretary Manny Pinol, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and Sulu Representative Datu Shah Sakur Tan in Malacañan Palace.

The team were welcomed by Governor Toto Tan in his office together with several mayors. Datu Sakur Tan also joined, and once more they emphasized the value of what our Kapatids are doing to help the people on the island. It was the first meeting of Sulu officials with Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry Inc. (FFCCCI), Harbest, SM Foundation, Metrobank Foundation, and Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc.

Groundbreaking ceremony for classrooms and buildings in Maimbung, Sulu.

Groundbreaking ceremony for classrooms and buildings in Maimbung, Sulu.

Their first stop of the day was the launch of SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) program, in partnership with Harbest and DA Sulu. KSK is an intensive 12 week agri-training program that would benefit 200 farmers from various municipalities and help provide them with new skills and knowledge necessary to give them a better chance at life by learning how to plant and harvest high value crops such as vegetables.

Following this, they went to visit the HBSAT site in Jolo City. Renamed in 1963 through RA3707, Sulu Trade school was changed to “Hadji Butu School of Arts and Trade”, or HBSAT to locals. It is one of projects being considered by Metrobank Foundation in its efforts to support Sulu. The school is one of the oldest institutions in the province, and shows multiple buildings in varying states of dilapidation. The façade of these structures tell the story of HSBAT’s rich history and the struggles that students of the school face day by day.

One such student, Shaina Musa, a 9th grade senior high school student, spoke to them. They spoke just outside of her handicraft’s class. At 14 years old, she displayed maturity beyond her years. In a room that could fit thirty students, less than twenty were in attendance. Our team observed that most—if not all—of them had their hands on folded arms, looking as if they would rather be someplace else. “Labas po sila [mga kaklase] ng classroom, (They [classmates] keep going in-and-out of the classroom)” she shared, and when asked for the reason why, her answer was heartbreaking; “Kasi wala silang gusto. Wala silang pangarap. (Because they don’t have anything. They don’t have dreams.)” Perhaps one of the biggest factors would be the state of their classrooms: wooden chairs that look like they came from recycled wood, ceilings with no insulation that look like it would collapse during a storm, and shadows that cover their faces because they don’t have electricity. It’s a miracle that this young girl could still dream. Shaina still dreams big. She wants to study Computer Science in Mindanao State University and one day become a teacher. Perhaps with the newly donated classrooms, our Kapatids can bring her closer to her dream.

The second site visited was the Kapatid Village in Barangay Kajatian, Indanan, Sulu, where donations from Manny Osmeña, Natividad Cheng, Manny Pangilinan, William Belo, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, and other Big Kapatids will fund homes for the beneficiaries. Governor Tan headed the showcase of the model house to the beneficiaries.

One of the Kapatid Villages will be in Barangay Anuling Patikul, Sulu.

One of the Kapatid Villages will be in Barangay Anuling Patikul, Sulu.

Another heartbreaking scene met them when they arrived at Sultan Jamalul Kiram School in Kulasi, Maimbung. There was a large open field where Governor Tan and Enrique Chua, representative of FFCCCI, surrounded by the school officials, broke ground for the site of new school buildings. FFCCCI donated thirty classrooms in total. Following the advice of Governor Tan to spread out new building to different barangays, eight buildings each with 2 classrooms will be built. The deepest gratitude could be felt from the school officials, and especially the teachers. One teacher approached them. She brought them to the rooms and showed them the state of their classrooms; peeling walls, incomplete shutters, and ceilings that are drooping. We are building more classroom so that more children could have a better future. It’s truly a labor of love for them to continue teaching despite these conditions. The classrooms would help elevate the quality of learning that their students will experience.

Finally, the last stop of the day was in Patikul. Known for incursions over the past months, Patikul is near the mountains, and the Kapatid Village rests just along the road which leads to Barangay Anuling. Military personnel surrounded the area but the delegation of Kapatids were welcomed by the Barangay Captain Ging Hayudini. People watched from afar. It felt like a desolate place but hopes remain for the rehabilitation of this area will bring more peace to the town.

The trip to Sulu was successful overall. For now, we’re starting with Negosyo thru the KSK Program, two Kapatid Villages and thirty-two Kapatid Classrooms in Patikul, Maimbung, Indanan, and Jolo. More will follow in the coming months.

This project brings forth another unique example of how progress can be achieved with the combined efforts of the public and the private sector. We, of the private sector, must support programs like this in places like Sulu where our help is needed the most. This is where we will start bringing peace through business and entrepreneurship that will elevate the whole country towards an age of prosperity.