Archive for the ‘KAPATID: Angat Lahat’ Category

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.

A Day of Reflection

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

I can clearly remember the day February 25, 1986. The series of revolutions against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos culminated in the EDSA Shrine in Ortigas. Thousands of people flocked the area, armed with only prayers and rosaries in their hands. Chanting words of freedom, singing songs of nationalism, and crying for the end of oppression. This is the People Power Revolution of 1986. The bloodless revolution that returned the democracy of the country.

Last week, we celebrated the 31st anniversary of EDSA People Power Revolution. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea chairs the EDSA People Power Commission and I serve as the vice chair and representative from the private sector. In a simple mass and celebration in Camp Aguinaldo, we commemorated one of the significant moments in our history.

With the theme, “A Day of Reflection: Celebrating People Power for Nation Building,” we are reminded of what the Philippines has become 31 years after.

In a short message, I shared to everyone my thoughts on how we can continuously celebrate the real essence of EDSA.

Sec. Martin Andanar, Chris Carrion, PA Joey Concepcion, President Fidel V. Ramos & E.S Salvador Medialdea awarded members of the military, religious and civilian groups.

Sec. Martin Andanar, Chris Carrion, PA Joey Concepcion, President Fidel V. Ramos & E.S Salvador Medialdea awarded members of the military, religious and civilian groups.

“First of all, we welcome all of you to the 31st anniversary of People Power. It’s been 31 years, and today, we are surrounded by a lot of heroes who brought about People Power Revolution. I was assigned as a co-chair about seven days ago, and without the help of Chris Carreon this event would not be possible. So, I would like to congratulate him.”

“In a way, if we look back, I was 27 years old when EDSA happened and my father was 54 years old. I find myself in a unique position being vice chair to ES Bingbong Medialdea in this commission. I don’t know if my father realizes that I’m up here on stage. Somehow he has lost part of his memory but he is the one who instilled the love for the country.”

“Many of you here today surely loves this country. I remember when it all happened here in the EDSA, President Ramos – then General Ramos, Secretary Enrile then, Gringo Honasan and many others here. That was the beginning of the spirit of EDSA. When I was asked, do I regret what happened during those times? For all of us it was the best experience that we should never forget. When, we toppled the dictatorship, and it brought Filipinos together as brothers and sisters. Military and civilians were not shooting one another. It was a truly an admiration to see this event happen, and we were well respected all over the world.”

“But, I know, many of us still question if the spirit of EDSA is still in our hearts? It is only yourself who can answer that question. When Benigno Aquino was assassinated which then sparked the revolution, my father then started NAMFREL, who during those days, had that impossible dream that one day this country can eventually become a great nation. But, one of the reasons why we chose this day to be a day of reflection is because we really have to look back to the past and see how we can move forward. I know that sometimes, it is very hard to forgive. But, we must try to forgive but never forget. There is a big difference in forgiving and forgetting. We must move on to build and to continue the spirit of EDSA and pass it onto the next generation. Your generation is gradually moving on and my generation is entering that next phase. We will not be able to accomplish and fulfill the dream of spirit of EDSA if we will not be able to pass it to the young millennials out there to really get them to understand what has really happened on this day. Our blessed mother has truly been a miracle for all of us who has guided us all these times. Through time and today, we are very fortunate to see the Philippines in progress. The spirit of EDSA can only be achieved if we have unity, peace, and prosperity for all.”

The 31st EDSA People Power Anniversary celebration was attended by P.A. Joey Concepcion, Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, E.S. Salvador Medialdea, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, President Fidel V. Ramos, Senate President Koko Pimentel, Gen. Eduardo Ermita, Sen. Gringgo Honasan, Sec. Martin Andanar and many more.

The 31st EDSA People Power Anniversary celebration was attended by P.A. Joey Concepcion, Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, E.S. Salvador Medialdea, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, President Fidel V. Ramos, Senate President Koko Pimentel, Gen. Eduardo Ermita, Sen. Gringgo Honasan, Sec. Martin Andanar and many more.

Yearly, the Spirit of EDSA Foundation headed by its founder Chris Carrion awards members of the important groups during the EDSA revolution – the military, religious and civilians.   The military awardees that represented the Philippine Army, Navy and Airforce were DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Rear Admiral Bayaui Gaenlan and Gen. Hotchkiss, respectively. The religious were represented by Sister Sarah Manapol for the Roman Catholics, Aleem Said Akmar Bashir for the Muslims, and Bishop Jonel Milan for the Christians. Lastly, the civilians who were awarded were Bobby Aquino in behalf of his late father Butz Aquino for Luzon, Ms. Ching Montinola for Visayas, and Mr. Uriel Jojo Borja for Mindanao. Together with former President Fidel V. Ramos, E.S. Medialdea, and Chris Carrion, we awarded these groups who were instrumental in making the peaceful call for freedom a success.

With performances from artists and heart-warming messages from people who have been directly involved in the past, the celebration was a recall of the good that has happened.

E.S. Medialdea closed the program with an endearing speech. He shared, “My administration has always believed in the power of the people to chart their own destiny, and establish a government to protect the people’s interest-especially of the poor, and underprivileged sectors as its top most priority. 31 years have passed since EDSA People Power Revolution, and perhaps now is the opportune time to ask ourselves; “What have we achieved after EDSA?” More than a mere commemoration. Now is the time for all of us to reflect and objectively assess what we have lost and what we have gained, as a nation, during that historic event.”

The true spirit of the People Power Revolution is the true spirit of the Filipino people. May we not forget the value of unity. That we may have different preferences or political affiliations, we are all one as a nation. Together, we are building our future together.

Champion Women Entrepreneurs

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Women entrepreneurs are one of the leading drivers of our economy. They are conquering challenges, winning battles, and succeeding in life. Men are in awe as to how women work to create innovative products and services or construct business ideas and techniques while doing their role as mothers, sisters, or daughters.

For the past years, we have recognized Filipina entrepreneurs who are inspiring, passionate, and persistent in reaching goals not just for themselves but for their companies as well. As we say, there are women who have the “panalo” or “can do” attitude that helps them strive.

Go Negosyo searches for the new batch of Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017!

Go Negosyo searches for the new batch of Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017!

In 2009, we had our first Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit which was attended by more than 15,000 participants. I remembered that it was our first time to recognize women entrepreneurs who as we call, “The Mothers of Mother Entrepreneurs”. We recognized Socorro “Nanay Coring” Ramos of National Bookstore, Dr. Helena Benitez of Philippine Women University, and Madam Eulalia Baylon of Immaculate Conception College Albay.

Nanay Coring of National Bookstore is one of the oldest women entrepreneurs in the country. She is an example of hard work and passion. From a humble convenience store in Escolta and many struggles in between, Nanay Coring still heads the largest bookstore chain in the country, National Bookstore. Several years after we gave our first award for her, we recognized her with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurs in 2015 during the 7th Filipina Summit.

Another Lifetime Achievement Awardee is Esther Vibal. Tita Esther as I fondly call her is one of the Go Negosyo trustees and has been with us since then. She has actively supported the advocacy and helped promote entrepreneurship in the country. Her keen adherence to quality and excellence, guided the company to excel in its field. The Queen of Publishing, Tita Esther and her Vibal Publishing group continues to publish textbooks and other educational materials for the Filipinos.

Most well loved brands are run by women entrepreneurs or “mompreneurs”. Just like our favorite brand of foams, pillows and mattresses, Uratex, is run by Natividad Cheng who is one of the 2011 Filipina awardees. Their company started as Polyfoam Chemical Corporation which produces foam for furniture manufacturing. But like many entrepreneurs, they faced several trials that challenged their entrepreneurial spirit. With resilience and innovation, they continue to become a market leader.

Another women entrepreneur and advocate is Pacita Juan or Chit. She is also a 2011 Inspiring Filipina awardee and one of the keen supporters of women entrepreneurs. From being the CEO of Figaro Coffee Co., to running the social enterprise ECHOStore, Chit continues to show passion for Philippine products. ECHOStore houses different merchandise sourced from poor communities in the country which are environment friendly. Currently, she chairs the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) and works with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council for its programs for women.

We have also awarded micro entrepreneurs such as Teresita Valdez and Lydia Malot. I met both of them in the Citi Microentrepreneur Awards organized by Citibank and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Teresita Valdez started as an employee in a bagoong manufacturing company in Navotas but eventually, she started her own company – Viana Food Condiments which manufactures sautéed shrimp paste and anchovy sauces and has reached not only her market in Navotas but also abroad. Lydia Malot, on the other hand, is a nata de coco manufacturer from Davao. Prior to being an entrepreneur, she is a teacher by profession but opted to focus on her business. She started the business from a capital of P300 and today, she is supplying products to large food and beverage companies in the country.

We have recognized 200 Filipina entrepreneurs already in the span of 12 years. These women entrepreneurs hail from different industries such as retail, fashion, academe, social enterprise, agriculture, arts and crafts, realty, technology, and many more. Looking back, I think we have recognized more women entrepreneurs than men.

For 2017, the search is on once again for the next batch of Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs. We have open the nominations last week and we have received around 100 nominations from our partners and the general public. I read some of the nominations and I must agree, women are real entrepreneurs with their heart, mind and body dedicated in to it. Soon, we shall name the latest batch of empowering Pinays.

I hope more aspiring and young entrepreneurs can draw inspiration from these women. They are women worthy of praise and admiration for their commitment to reach success. May we all strive to become the best that we can be just like these women entrepreneurs.

Youth of our Future

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

As parents, we only think of the best for our children. Even as small kids, we plan for their future by enriching them with values, enrolling them in the best schools, and mentoring them with proper judgment and wisdom. We hope that they may grow as upright individuals pursuing their own advocacies and reaching their goals.

I am sure that it is a proud moment for parents whenever their children are recognized for being exemplary students. Last week, the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines Foundation recognized the top 10 students of the country from different colleges and universities.

The TOSP 2016 are Anne Malazarte of the University of San Agustin, Arizza Nocum of University of the Philippines Diliman, Nafieza Mohammad of the Universidad de Zamboanga, Ronalyn Pordan of the Far Eastern University, Andrienne Boado of the University of Northern Philippines, Janssen Ramos of the University of the East, Gimar Reyes of Xavier University, Ladielyn Fuderanan of the University of Bohol, Vryxonval Del Valle of First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities, and Riego Garcia of the Central Philippine University. The awarding ceremony was graced by Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato De la Pena, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, TOSP Founder Jose Concepcion Jr., TOSP President Marie Concepcion-Young, TOSP Head of the Board of Judges Dr. Ryan Guinaran, TOSP Alumni Community President Pamela Asis-Layugan, Marivic Concepcion, and sponsors Michael Tan (LT Group) and Alice Eduardo (Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation).

The TOSP 2016 are Anne Malazarte of the University of San Agustin, Arizza Nocum of University of the Philippines Diliman, Nafieza Mohammad of the Universidad de Zamboanga, Ronalyn Pordan of the Far Eastern University, Andrienne Boado of the University of Northern Philippines, Janssen Ramos of the University of the East, Gimar Reyes of Xavier University, Ladielyn Fuderanan of the University of Bohol, Vryxonval Del Valle of First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities, and Riego Garcia of the Central Philippine University.
The awarding ceremony was graced by Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato De la Pena, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, TOSP Founder Jose Concepcion Jr., TOSP President Marie Concepcion-Young, TOSP Head of the Board of Judges Dr. Ryan Guinaran, TOSP Alumni Community President Pamela Asis-Layugan, Marivic Concepcion, and sponsors Michael Tan (LT Group) and Alice Eduardo (Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation).

After a rigorous screening process with hundreds of nominees from 350 schools, the top 30 students have been identified to join the national judging. And together with Department of Science and Technology Secretary Boy de la Pena, my dad and TOSP Founder Jose Concepcion Jr., TOSP President Marie Concepcion-Young, TOSP Head of the Board of Judges Dr. Ryan Guinaran, and program partners Michael Tan and Alice Eduardo, we awarded the 10 brightest students of the Philippines in Malacanang.

I shared to the students, “You have a bright future. Only ten will be chosen but nevertheless among the millions of students out there, you are part of the brightest students of the country. But in the end, with all of these, it’s all up to you. Many of you will be part of the government one day. Maybe one of you will be a president someday. Nothing is impossible. It all starts with a dream. You cannot wait for destiny. You will have to work hard for that. And if it’s meant to be, it will happen.”

Sec. Boy de la Pena who has been part of the TOSP community for the past years as screening committee and national judge appreciated the efforts of these 10 students who excelled not only in their academics but also in their non-curricular activities and programs. He reminded them of their responsibility as a proactive citizen. In an inspiring message, he mentioned, “The recognitions serve as a reminder to the youth of today that learning is as much as a right of every young Filipino as much as it is a responsibility for those who have received it not only to oneself or the family but also to our nation.”

But among the 10 outstanding students, I have known two young and inspiring students who are both pursuing peace advocacies.

Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion with Arizza Nocum and Nafieza Mohammad.

Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion with Arizza Nocum and Nafieza Mohammad.

First is Nafieza “Happy” Mohammad who hails from Zamboanga City and a graduate of Universidad de Zamboanga. She has been a consistent outstanding student in her university and even graduated as the UZ Most Outstanding Student 2016. But aside from focusing on her course Pharmacy, she has pursued campaigns for peace and environmental conservation and protection, and for the fight against violence on women and children. She also opened the program “Runway Walk for Peace” during the Philippine Fashion Week. She is the first Muslim woman wearing Hijab on the runway.

Last June 2016, she spearheaded Project Aral mission in Basilan Province. They gave out notebooks, ball pens, pencils, and refillable water bottles to a Muslim school. She continues these peace activities to help the children of Basilan and other Muslim provinces achieve peace and prosperity.

Another empowered youth is Arizza Nocum who is a graduate of Industrial Engineering in University of the Philippines – Diliman. She graduated Magna cum Laude and one of the UP Oblation scholar of their university. She is also one of the four industrial engineering students who represented UP Diliman in the Industrial Engineering Competition in Indonesia, and won the competition. Aside from that, she has been recognized for projects and research, public speaking, and leadership among others.

But more importantly, Arizza is one of the young generation who is creating changes in her best capacity. She has founded Good Karma Shirts which sells shirts of different colors to raise funds for non-profit organizations in the country. Each color of the shirts supports different causes such as poor and ailing children, reforestation, marine conservation, underprivileged scholars, and the support for clean sources of light. Through Good Karma, they are also encouraging the customers to support and volunteer in the different organizations.

She is also the Overall Head of KRIS Library, an organization which promotes peace through education. This organization builds libraries, provides scholarships, and donates books to areas affected by conflict and poverty. They have built six libraries, have provided 400 scholarship grants, and have distributed 50,000 books to public schools and communities. Through KRIS Library, she has created a center of peace and unity for both Christians and Muslims.

They will be involved in the Sulu project that we our doing and in other areas.

I am inspired by these two young students who despite their young age, have started creating developments in their communities. They are the instruments of change that we need in this country. May they inspire more young members of the society to contribute to the brighter future ahead of us.

ASEAN Brotherhood

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Whenever ASEAN is being raised in discussions and conversations, we can only think of the brotherhood of the 10 countries involved. Since its establishment in 2003, the council has focused on having a stronger economic development for the region. Today, on its 14th anniversary and ASEAN’s 50th anniversary, we are bringing inclusive prosperity for all.

During the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Welcome Dinner last January 25, I shared the importance of having the same vision with President Duterte. For the past months and even before being elected, the President has been vocal in his plans to improve the lives of the Filipinos. And in ASEAN BAC, that is also our goal: to improve the lives of all members of the ASEAN community.

It is indeed a great challenge to help those at the bottom of the pyramid. As I said during the dinner, “Without the private and public sectors working together, the challenge of creating work for others is close to impossible.” But with the help of the key players such as the conglomerates, we can start the work towards prosperity.

When we launched the Go Negosyo Mentor Me program, the plan is to implement it to all the Negosyo Centers of the Department of Trade and Industry. Now, the Department of Agriculture has also adopted the program which aims to empower the farmers, fishermen and other agri-entrepreneurs. Moving forward with ASEAN, the ASEAN BAC has also established a mentoring program entitled ASEAN Mentors-Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) which will create a greater mentorship in the region. Former awardees of the ASEAN Business Awards will form part of the network as a start.

Aside from these, we are also banking on the potential of agriculture as the game changer. We always say that the Philippines is a land of agricultural treasures. We also have our neighboring countries who have banked on their agriculture sector such as Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. With the help of the agri-mentors from these countries, we can help alleviate this sector in our country, applying the techniques and establishing the infrastructure of other countries.

“If we want to help those in the bottom of the pyramid, this is our chance of helping the President. We have six years with the President and our friends in ASEAN to bring about greater change in the region”, I shared.

 Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Presidential Adviser and ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion, George Barcelon, and Erramon Aboitiz during the ASEAN BAC Welcome Dinner.

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Presidential Adviser and ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion, George Barcelon, and Erramon Aboitiz during the ASEAN BAC Welcome Dinner.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella also attended the ASEAN BAC Welcome Dinner to talk in behalf of the President. He shared the expanded mandate which are: highly integrated and cohesive economy; comprehensive, innovative, and dynamic ASEAN; enhanced connectivity and sectoral cooperation; and a resilient, inclusive, people-oriented, and people-centered ASEAN.

When ASEAN Philippine Chairmanship was launched in Davao last January 15, President Duterte mentioned the importance of giving “a truly better life” for all ASEAN citizens. Sec. Abella reiterated this by saying that the true agenda of the President is “the well being of people, which can only be achieved if everyone acts for the common good.”

Sec. Abella said, “It takes more than just power, wealth, or ethics. It takes all three working together to create a nation we can all believe in.”

He also shared that the president is not just about law and order but also about inclusive prosperity which includes giving people an access to the services such as housing, education, health care, social welfare, transport, electricity and energy, water, and sanitation and refuse and waste removal.

In addition, the concept of social enterprises was also raised to which Sec. Abella said, “what works for people is good for business, and what is good for business is what works for the people.”

Lastly, Sec. Abella said, “We all build our nations and region worthy of our people and our people worthy of our nations and ASEAN.”

Aside from Sec. Abella, DTI Undersecretary Nora Terrado who chairs the committee on business and investment promotions enumerated the programs of DTI for the ASEAN chairmanship this year. These programs include ASEAN MSME Mentorship Summit, ASEAN Inclusive Business Summit, ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Carnival, Slingshot, ASEAN Women Summit and many more. These are just few of the exciting programs for this year.

Jayant Menon, Lead Economist (Trade and Regional Cooperation) of the Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department of Asian Development Bank presented the ASEAN Economic Community and the Evolving Regional Architecture which discusses the major progress, promising developments, challenges, and the critical steps for ASEAN.

Dr. Enrico L. Basilio Chief of Party of the USAID COMPETE Project Advisor talked about the ASEAN RORO Initiative which is a Philippine initiative program and a legacy project of ASEAN. The first RORO link of this network will be between the Philippines and Indonesia.

The ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Council led by Rommel Gerodias also had their Manila declaration during the dinner.

The dinner was attended by many of our entrepreneurs and advocates which include Sen. Cynthia Villar, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Sen. Sonny Angara, Cong. John Bertiz, Manny Pangilinan, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Washington Sycip, Tony Meloto, Erramon Aboitiz, and many more.

We look forward to another insightful events in this year’s ASEAN Philippine chairmanship.

 

Inclusive Prosperity

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
Kapatid conglomerates met with Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez last February 1, 2017.

Kapatid conglomerates met with Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez last February 1, 2017.

Following the successful consultation dinner of the Kapatid conglomerates with President Duterte two weeks ago, I arranged a meeting with Department of Finance Secretary, Carlos Dominguez, together with the big brother conglomerates.  The meeting happened yesterday early morning. It was an insightful meeting which focused on a number of things including taxes, budget allocations, investments, and most importantly, the projects concerning areas of extreme poverty.

Prior to the meeting, Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol and his team have identified their top 10 areas in the country experiencing extreme poverty. [Through the Special Areas of Agricultural Development Program (SAAD)], the areas chosen for 2018 will follow 4-3-3 scheme wherein 4 identified places will be from Mindanao, 3 from Visayas, and 3 from Luzon. These are: in Mindanao – Sulu, Bukidnon, Compostela Valley, and Sultan Kudarat; in Visayas – Siquijor, Southern Leyte, and Leyte; and in Luzon – Masbate, Catanduanes, and Sorsogon. The mission of Go Negosyo’s Kapatid program is to bring socio-economic development in these areas through infrastructure, food and income security, and capacity building. Secretary Dominguez has assured that the government will be in full support of these programs. He also mentioned that there will be a budget supporting programs for the development of ARMM.

Secretary Dominguez also asked for the support and cooperation of Kapatid conglomerates for his tax reform bill. There are many proposed developments on our country’s tax system. This includes the adjustment of personal income tax bracket, and lowering the donor’s tax rate and estate tax rate to 6%. The Kapatid conglomerates asked for more information and clarification on these tax reforms to which he gladly discussed in detail.

One of the proposals for tax is to have a flat tax. According to him, this proposal is good; however, unconstitutional. In the 1987 Constitution article VI, section 28, paragraph 1 states that “The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The congress shall evolve a progressive system of taxation.”

Department of Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez.

Department of Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez.

There are a lot of economic developments under President Duterte’s administration. He has created an exemplary economic team composed of Secretary Ramon Lopez, Secretary Carlos Dominguez, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Ernesto Pernia, and Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno. Together with the rest of the cabinet secretaries, they are doing a great job in boosting the economy. Even the Kapatid conglomerates applaud these men for their work on completing the 10-point economic agenda of the government. Tessie Sy-Coson, SM vice-chairperson, even suggested to boost these good business and investment updates so that we will attract more international attention that can lead to more investments.

There are also upcoming projects which will be implemented in the coming years. Investments and foreign trade partnerships are being fostered as well. The government have established an investment coordinating committee composed of Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Transportation Secretary Tugade, Secretary Ernesto Pernia, and Secretary Carlos Dominguez for all transactions and negotiations with investors which includes China.

The meeting was attended by Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (Ayala Corporation), Teresita Sy-Coson (SM Investments Corporation), George Barcelon (Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Erramon Aboitiz (Aboitiz Equity Ventures), Doris Magsaysay Ho (Magsaysay Group), Alfred Ty (GT Capital Holdings), Cong. Arthur Yap, Ernest Tan Mantiong (Jollibee Food Corporation), Federico Lopez (First Philippine Holdings), Lance Gokongwei (JG Summit Group), Josephine Gotianun-Yap (Filinvest Corporation), Michael Tan (LT Group), and Merly Cruz (Go Negosyo).

We are only seven months in this administration and we are experiencing great developments. We are currently one of the fastest growing economies in the world and have actively played in the global economic arena. As we host this year’s ASEAN, we look forward to a more active business progress in the region. Indeed, positive change has come!

These Kapatid conglomerates are now part of the movement to bring about inclusive growth in the country. We are one in the mission of providing prosperity for all. Our constant communication and close coordination with the President and his government officials strengthen the private-public partnership that we have established since the beginning of his term.

***

Yesterday, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the appointment of Sec. Ramon Lopez for Department of Trade and Industry and Sec. Manny Pinol for Department of Agriculture. Both secretaries are partners of Go Negosyo in the mission of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development.

ASEAN Business Launch

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

It is a privilege for the Philippines to host the momentous 50th anniversary of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). It has been a milestone of success for ASEAN as we observe the economic progress in the region.

As the 7th largest economy in the world, we are contributing $2.3 trillion to the world’s GDP. With a diversity of culture, we have created an active ecosystem for various businesses and industries. We have linked companies to companies, industries to industries, and countries to countries.

For the Philippines, we are the fastest growing economy in Asia. We have a strong business sector and public sector who work hand in hand in making the lives of all Filipinos progressive.

Last Tuesday, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez launched the ASEAN 2017 Business and Investment Program in Malacanang. Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and our President Rodrigo Duterte were among the attendees of the launch of business programs for ASEAN this year. Close to 400 guests composed of government officials and businessmen witnessed the successful presentation of the year-long programs of the business sector.

Secretary Lopez said, “Philippines, through DTI, wants to highlight business programs and events that will complement the ASEAN efforts to champion the inclusion of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the international trade, and the strengthened promotion of youth and women entrepreneurship.”

The ASEAN Business Advisory Council led by its chair Joey Concepcion together with DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and President Rodrigo Duterte.

The ASEAN Business Advisory Council led by its chair Joey Concepcion together with DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and President Rodrigo Duterte.

The four pillars of ASEAN Economic Community for ASEAN 2025 were reiterated. These pillars include: the establishment of a single market and production base; a highly competitive economic region; a region equitable economic development; and a region fully integrated into global economy.

2017 will be a busy year for the Philippines as we host many activities. With President Duterte as the chair of ASEAN, Sec. Mon Lopez as chair of ASEAN economic ministers, and I as chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, we will make sure to mount programs that will fulfill the agenda of “inclusive, innovation-led growth.”

ASEAN BAC will partner with DTI for the programs on micro and small entrepreneurs, women, youth, and inclusive business.

For the MSMEs, we have created the ASEAN Mentors-Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) which will become the mentors for our small brothers in the industry. Former ASEAN Business Awardees are now being pooled together to create a mentoring session for the ASEAN MSMEs-Mentors Conference. This will feature ASEAN mentors who will share best practices and business insights.

ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network led by Go Negosyo entrepreneur Chit Juan have also partnered with us and DTI for the ASEAN Women’s Business Conference on August. This will be a chance for women entrepreneurs to address issues and concerns focusing on market access and finance.

In September, there will be an Inclusive Business Summit which will feature the best practices in inclusive business and will recognize companies who have implemented inclusive business models in their system. This is also one of our pillars in the Kapatid, Angat Lahat – to promote inclusive business models in the entrepreneurship community. We are currently working on a book that will feature more than 50 companies in the country who have tapped small and micro entrepreneurs to be part of their value chain.

As for the young entrepreneurs, ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Council led by its chair Rommel Gerodias will host the 2nd ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Carnival which will harness the network of young entrepreneurs in the region in the industries of food, agriculture, information technology, logistics, business process outsourcing, start-ups, and Internet of Things (IOT).

Another ASEAN MSME Summit will be held in November which features inspiring MSMEs who have benefited from the mentoring program of DTI and Go Negosyo and other partner agencies. This year, we are launching more Mentor ME programs in different Negosyo Centers in the provinces which will then equip more micro and small entrepreneurs with the needed business techniques and knowhow.

Other programs of ASEAN Committee on Business and Investment Promotion are the following: ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibit which will showcase innovation, creativity, and culture; ASEAN International Food Exposition Philippines which will feature best food brands of the ASEAN countries and partner nations; Creative Marketplace; and Slingshot ASEAN which will create an ecosystem of start-ups, mentors, angel investors, incubators, academe, and industry experts.

I shared during the launch, “This year, ASEAN turns 50 years. It is indeed a milestone. But in the end, a milestone has to achieve certain objectives for the greater welfare, not only of the Filipino people, but of all the 10 ASEAN countries. 10 years ago, the Philippines hosted ASEAN. My father then was the head of ASEAN BAC and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was the president at that time and the event was held in Cebu. In the past 10 years, the Philippines is really in quest for a solution towards the greatest problem of our nation which is poverty. That is why the ASEAN BAC adopted “Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All. That to me, will really put meaning in the ASEAN as we turn 50 years. We cannot achieve prosperity just for the few. Our president’s principle is equalized by his passion for change which has to happen in the next six years. We are counting on our nine ASEAN brother nations to provide the valuable insights and advice and mentors to be able to help the Philippines in reducing the poverty level. Many of our youth are looking towards a brighter future. We have countless of Filipino people moving overseas to seek better opportunities, better pay, and a better future. This has to change. We must promise them a great future in our country. So prosperity for all will really bring about greater meaning to our ASEAN 50 this year.”

President Duterte who has been very vocal in helping micro and small entrepreneurs, stressed on creating prosperity in the region.  “Our ASEAN today presents many real opportunities for investments to grow, for investors within and outside our region. ASEAN needs to sustain its momentum towards inclusive growth, ensure businesses and industries continue to thrive, and secure a policy that supports meaningful economic change and reform.”

President Duterte also encouraged business leaders to tap the MSMEs and integrate them in the national and regional value chain.

Together, let us partner for change!

Kapatid Taipans for Inclusive Growth

Thursday, January 19th, 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte and Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion together with the Go Negosyo Kapatid taipans in a dinner in Malacanang last January 17, 2017.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Presidential Adviser Joey Concepcion together with the Go Negosyo Kapatid taipans in a dinner in Malacanang last January 17, 2017.

2017 is off to a good start as we have recently met with President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss different business matters such as inclusive business, micro, small and medium enterprise development, our Sulu project, labor and contractualization federalism, and other concerns that need to be raised. The objective of this meeting is to express our support to the President in helping areas of conflict and extreme poverty in the country.

I arranged this meeting with the Kapatid taipans for them to directly hear the President’s views and opinions on issues concerning the business sector. We are glad that the President agreed to meet us despite his current busy schedule right after the successful state visit of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The big brothers in the entrepreneurship community were also delighted to share to the President the current efforts done by their companies to help alleviate poverty in the country.

Attendees include Ginggay Hontiveros, Go Negosyo Sulu Coordinator; Alfred Ty, GT Capital Holdings Corporation Co-Vice Chairman; Manny Pangilinan, First Pacific Managing Director and CEO; Federico Lopez, First Philippine Holdings Corporation Chairman and CEO; Doris Magsaysay Ho, Magsaysay Corporation President and CEO; Michael Tan, LT Group President and COO; George Barcelon, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President; Kevin Tan, Megaword Corporation First Vice President – Commercial Division; Hans Sy, SM Prime Holdings Chairman of the Executive Committee; Enrique Razon, International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) Chairman, Cong. Arthur Yap, Bohol 3rd District Representative; Sec. Carlos Dominguez, Department of Finance Secretary; Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; Tomas Alcantara, Alsons Group Chairman; Merly Cruz, Go Negosyo MSME Development Adviser; Erramon Aboitiz, Aboitiz Equity Ventures President and CEO; Alice Eduardo, Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation President and CEO; Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO; Tony Tan Caktiong, Jollibee Foods Corporation Chairman and CEO; Edgar “Injap” Sia, Double Dragon Investment Chairman and CEO; Dr. Francisco Duque, Department of Health Former Secretary; and Domingo Yap, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President.

Enrique Razon, Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Manny Pangilinan, Cong. Arthur Yap, Alfred Ty, and Federico Lopez.

Enrique Razon, Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Manny Pangilinan, Cong. Arthur Yap, Alfred Ty, and Federico Lopez.

The first part of the meeting was to update the President on the progress that we have so far for Sulu. The Negosyo Para sa Kapayapaan sa Sulu of Go Negosyo and Department of Agriculture of Sec. Manny Pinol launched this project with the initiative of bringing socio-economic development. The Sulu Project was President Duterte’s initiative and was assigned to Sec. Pinol. This was launched in Malacanang last December and was attended by President Duterte and more than 500 entrepreneurs and Go Negosyo advocates. Ginggay Hontiveros, who is our Sulu coordinator raised the commitments we have as a group such as housing development, mentorship, infrastructures, and other programs that will help Sulu reach progress. Michael Tan, Manny Pangilinan, Hans Sy, and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala also pointed out their respective companies’ planned programs.

We understand that there is extreme poverty in the region coupled with the conflict with armed groups. This is the reason why we want to bring change in the area. Hopefully, an improvement in the lives of all community members in Sulu.

We were able to raise concerns on contractualization as well. President knows that Filipinos are dependent on their jobs thus we are one in the mission of employment generation. We need more jobs so that Filipinos will no longer work abroad. As mentioned during the dinner, there are more than 6,000 Filipinos who leave the country everyday. The goal here is to reduce the number of Filipinos who travel abroad for work opportunities. We aim to create more employment here in the country since there are more people joining the work force. We do not accept anything that will hinder job growth in the country.

President Duterte showing the "narco list" to the businessmen.

President Duterte showing the “narco list” to the businessmen.

President Duterte’s plan for federalism was also raised. The businessmen were supportive of the move for federalism. There are various suggestions from different people on their vision of federal state. There are just questions that were raised such as the number of federal states which is a work in progress.

Sec. Carlos Dominguez also appealed to the businessmen to support the tax reform program and to encourage the congress to approve the reform from the executive branch.

The President stayed with us for more than three hours. Many were extremely happy with how the President responded to every question. They saw his passion on the drug problem as he showed the thick list of people involved in the drug trade. It was a chance for many to have an eye to eye contact with the President and saw his sincerity in improving the lives of many poor Filipinos. As I walked out towards the exit you can see in the eyes of the the big brothers a great renewal of confidence and whatever doubts they had on the President have been cleared. What was accomplished was a relationship of trust and cooperation where the Kapatid taipans can use their resources to help the President achieve his vision on change. We will all look forward to the next meeting with the President 6 months from now. This was one of the best meetings I have attended with the President