Pilipinas Angat Lahat!

Business organizations who are now part of the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance discussed programs for stronger money, market and mentorship for MSMEs.

Over the years, Go Negosyo has gathered many entrepreneurs who are all willing to be part of the advocacy of inclusive growth. And now, since my appointment as the presidential adviser for Entrepreneurship in the Duterte administration, I am uniting all business organizations to form a stronger private sector which is in full support of the government’s programs in MSME development.

Recently, I met with leaders of business organizations who have long been part of Go Negosyo and led the creation of the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance. The alliance is composed of private and public organizations that come together to alleviate poverty in the Philippines. Members of the alliance each presented their efforts in building an avenue for inclusive economic growth, especially the underserved sectors of the society.

If you can remember, we  launched a similar group last year. This time, we have tapped more organizations and associations to form part of the group together with key public sector stakeholders.

The alliance meeting was attended by George Barcelon and Bing Limjoco from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Rex Daryanani of the Federation of Indian Chambers Philippines, Ben Castillo from Bankers Association of the Philippines, Ramon Fernandez and Marife Zamora of the Management Association of the Philippines, Jun Ortiz-Luis of Philippine Exporters Confederation, Samie Lim and Richard Sanz of Philippine Franchising Association, Paul Santos of Philippine Retailers Association among others.

Aside from gathering the members, the main objective of the meeting was to apprise them of the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance launch with President Duterte which will formalize the alliance and the strategic framework laying down the priorities of the group which is  digitalization of microentrepreneurs, particularly the sari-sari stores and other nano-entrepreneurs, island tourism roadmap and agribusiness development. These will help us identify what we want to achieve in the next four years to help the government and how we will achieve them.

There is a need to digitalize our micro-entrepreneurs to help them become more efficient. In the case of sari-sari stores, making them go online will help them separate their own money from the money their business generates. By equipping them with e-wallet and enabling them with fintech solutions, it will be easier for them to access money even from their mobile phones.

The next one, which is tourism, is now seen as one of the priorities of the government, after having to close down Boracay. One major action that should be done here is airport rehabilitation. Last month, I chaired the meeting joined by the economic team together with the conglomerates to discuss the unsolicited proposals that will help the government align with its Build Build Build program. Airport rehabilitation will eventually further boost tourism in our country.

Lastly, the agribusiness development. A model that works well is the Yazaki-Torres model wherein the 3Ms converge. Mr. Feliciano Torres of Yazaki-Torres hired a mentor to help the farmers while providing the money through his rural bank and basically buying all the rice produced for all his employees.

Initially, we presented the programs of the government sector which are directed or can be linked to MSME development clustered under the 3Ms of MSME development (mentorship, money and market) as an inventory of the initiatives where the private sector could be of help.

Other programs led by the private sector was discussed as well, which includes our Kapatid Mentor ME Program and the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program.

I agree with George when he shared that through the alliance, business organizations working as a team would provide a leverage for MSME owners to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge. The alliance will help on continuing and sustaining actions geared towards the 3Ms, Marife added.

People Management Association of the Philippines president Ramon Segismundo asserted the need to have a “start-up society” to build an entrepreneurial culture with hard work, frugality, risk-taking, and innovation. He also mentioned recognizing the role models, implementing a rewards-and-consequences system, promoting learning to fail, developing a grassroots innovation process, and developing the entrepreneur’s competency and values as ways on achieving the said goal.

Meanwhile, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines president Dan Lachica suggested to reach out to retirees who can become mentors to Go Negosyo’s programs and other endeavors. He also mentioned the need to improve the electronics industry which can eventually contribute to the infrastructure programs of the government.

Both PFA and AFFI agreed that franchising could help MSMEs expand. Jorge Wieneke, director of AFFI who is also one of our pioneer mentors pledged their commitment to the mentorship program. Richard Sanz, who is now the president of PFA, supports the digitalization initiatives. PFA has also partnered with Go Negosyo for their program Franchising Intervention in Rebuilding Marawi (FIRM). I suggested to these two groups of franchisers to lead the digitalization by putting QR codes in their stores for the cashless payments and to incentivize their entrepreneurs who are executing this projects.

I also would like to highlight the suggestion of Jun Ortiz-Luis on converting a portion of the Conditional Cash Transfer of the DSWD and reallocate it to fund programs which will create more businesses and more jobs. This is one of our initial ideas when we were consolidating inputs on 3Ms.

Bankers Association of the Philippines managing director Benjamin Castillo suggested that since there are different providers of digital money (ex. Globe and Smart), interconnectedness system should be implemented in order to push for digital growth. By year 2020, as mandated by BSP, BAP would lead the formation of structure and regulation for digital payments.

MJ Panganiban, one of the directors of the Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines (DCOM), reported that DCOM is working on digital platforms, marketplace, payment solutions, and logistics to help provide a better e-commerce roadmap. According to him, DCOM is developing a platform where customers can order directly to sari-sari stores.

With this alliance, we hope to bring growth to the money and market aspect as it goes side by side with the mentorship programs. I would like to highlight that Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance is how private and public sector can come together to bring down the level of poverty and hopefully bring prosperity for all.

We need to care for our ‘treasure’ island

During the last long weekend, I invited a group of friends to join our family in exploring the beauty of some of our islands. Together we toured the majestic islands of Palawan, including Coron, Busuanga and Linapacan. Despite being well traveled, many of them had not seen this side of the Philippines.

Over three days, the group was able to see and enjoy the sandbars, lagoons, but most of all the serenity of the islands.  Joining us were Hans and Carol Sy, Ernest and Arlene Cu, Sen. Sonny and Tootsie Angara, Rikki and Beng Dee, Chris and Patty Chilip, Eric and May Yu, Mikey and Lizette Cojuangco, Naresh Mirani, Manuel and Karin Igual, Haresh and Sharmela Hiranand, Kevin and Rosanne Belmonte and John and Peachy Concepcion.

Clearly, Hans and Naresh, who joined us for the day, saw the beauty that the Philippines can offer. It definitely was not their comfort zone but they were game enough to join us for a swim on a private island owned by Charles McCulloch. Our host was gracious enough to invite the entire group for a well-prepared lunch. Ariara is a private island that you can rent and not have to worry about anything because they will do everything for you.

Governor Jose Alvarez joined the group for dinner and was gracious enough to ensure we had a great time. He shared with us his plans for Coron, Busuanga and Linapacan. I told him that we have been coming here for years and this place is Boracay and the Visayas islands rolled into one. The Apo Reef, which is off Busuanga’s waters, is one of the best reefs for diving in the Philippines.

We also had one of the greatest encounters with a dugong or sea cow in the waters of Busuanga. I am glad that the residents impose very strict rules and regulations before they take you to the diving site, which means there are limited and restricted areas for swimming and exploring.

The elegant Busuanga Bay Lodge (BBL) was our home for a few days. For the past 20 years we have been exploring the Philippine islands and have seen its great potential. BBL did an excellent job in impressing our visitors with a great dinner setup on the island’s south cay for close to 40 people.

In the end, it was a great bonding experience with our good friends. We are glad to share with them what we have seen throughout the years. Yes, the Philippines has more than 7,000 islands, which offer a lot of opportunities to countless Filipinos. By being entrepreneurs in the tourism industry, they can be part of tourism growth.  But in return, we need to take care of the environment because these islands are our treasures.

South Cay Island in Coron


Joining me in photo are Roseanne Belmonte, Charles McCulloch and Kevin Belmonte


The ladies enjoying their summer outfits. [In photo L-R] Carol Sy, Beng Dee, Arlene Cu, Marissa Concepcion, Peachy Concepcion, Karin Igual, Sharmela Hiranand, Roseanne Belmonte, Lizette Cojuangco, Tootsie Angara, and May Yu.

Our big group who enjoyed the Palawan tour.


Kevin and Roseanne Belmonte with Sen. Sonny Angara at the back.


Another group shot as we arrive in another island.


Our group enjoying the well-prepared lunch in the island of Ariara.


Beautiful sunset seen from one of the islands of Palawan


The dugong we saw in the waters of Busuanga.


The beautiful South Cay Island in Coron


Our friends enjoyed our lovely stay in Busuanga Bay Lodge.


Patty Chilip, Carol Sy, and Tootsie Angara.


The gentlemen enjoying our stay in the beach.


Rikki and Beng Dee


Ernest and Arlene Cu


Sen. Sonny Angara and wife, Tootsie.


The big dugong in Busuanga


Kevin and Roseanne Belmonte


Coron bay at sunset.


Beng Dee waving at the drone camera.


Ariara Cottages and Pool


Ariara Island


Dive boat Bella leaving South Cay.


A monitor lizard we saw in Palawan.


Sen. Angara, Gov. Alvarez, and I.


Marissa and I.


One of the sandbars in Palawan.

Enabling MSMEs in the Digital Economy

Going digital is one of the hottest topics in the business community lately, with many traditional brick and mortar businesses launching online platforms for their companies, and new digital players emerging in the industry. Because of this, I strongly believe digital is a great equalizer for micro and small entrepreneurs.

Last April 26, I, together with my digital adviser Jopin Romero who is also a fintech player, led the first dialogue on enabling MSMEs, through the digital economy with government officials, fintech and e-commerce players.

Present in the meeting were Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier, Rep. Peter Unabia, Gov. Abet Garcia of Bataan, Gil Gonzales (ASEAN BAC), Ron Tucker (Australia Digital Commerce Association), Anthony Thomas (Mynt), Lito Villanueva (FintQ), Dindo Marzan (Voyager Innovations), Andres Torres (Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines), Eugene Acevedo (UnionBank), Mark Ruiz (Hapinoy), Ed Sunico (Unilever Philippines), Ibba Bernardo (Sari.ph), Martin Yu (Shopee), Lawrence Ferrer (Paymaya), Ivy Piedad (Puregold), among others.

I have always grounded my advocacy with the 3Ms: mentorship, money, and market. As you all know, we have partnered with government institutions like DTI, DA, and DAR in providing mentorship with the offline sector.

But to me, the biggest game changer is the digital economy which is also a disruptor for big businesses. We want to see both offline and online businesses complementing each other. MSMEs must embrace online because it provides them with a platform where they can have e-wallets and transact online. Through e-wallet, SMEs will be able to manage their finances better. I think that as we move forward, we want our country to be more digitally inclusive which is why our Kapatid partners have been developing ways to digitally enable MSMEs with the right technologies and environment.

BSP Dep. Gov. Fonacier reported that most unbanked Filipinos have mobile phones that contribute to the increase in the number of people engaging in digital payments. However, there’s still a very long way to go as far as digitalization and fintech is concerned. She shared that in the recent Findex study, 41 percent of unbanked adults cited that the distance to a financial institution hinders them from owning a formal bank account. Another concern is the development of a national ID system which will aid in opening a basic account. We are glad that even the BSP has taken a huge step forward in digital payments as they have recently launched PESOnet and InstaPay. All these are being implemented with the hope of engaging more Filipinos to go digital.

We are glad to hear from Lito Villanueva that there is a fintech alliance wherein several stakeholders have teamed up to accelerate digitalization. Lito also shared that through Kasama Ka, a community-based, self-help, income-generating, and inclusive ecosystem-building movement, MSMEs will now be provided with alternative access to cheap finance. They also have the Lendr which is a digital lending platform. These programs are in support of the goal of having 30 million Filipinos form a financial system by year 2020.

But the real point to the meeting is how do we hasten the connection and get everybody on board. It is a challenge for many players on how we can all ask every sari-sari store or micro entrepreneur to invest and train themselves for digital inclusion. There are 1.2 million sari-sari stores in the country, a large industry we can all target. Eugene Acevedo of UnionBank agrees that “sari-sari stores are not the last mile; they are the first mile since Filipinos see sari-sari stores as their main point of contact.”

Anthony of Mynt reiterated that incentives are needed for micro entrepreneurs to start accepting electronic payments and that aside from the e-wallet, other formats include smartphones for payments. There should be a change in mindset as Andres Torres of Coca-Cola said. It is an investment for sari-sari store owners to put their money into an electronic device.

Ibba Bernardo raised a different approach wherein some mompreneurs are actually embracing technology and can run urban stores where she can post promos in her social media accounts and actually engage with her clients. Lawrence Ferrer then raised concern on data connection, which hinders digital advancement most especially in remote areas. Dindo suggested if FMCGs can sponsor data for their sari-sari store partners, it would enable them to go online.

I also invited Mark Ruiz of Hapinoy since they have been in touch with sari-sari stores for the past 11 years and have worked with FMCG companies. He shared that it is important to determine the desire for growth of sari-sari stores. As we also have noticed for the past years, many of our micro entrepreneurs run their business by survival. Meaning most of them are really not into growth and sustainability.

Aside from the incentives raised, it is in developing a user-friendly interface which would help educate buyers and sellers with their services as Martin of Shopee has pointed out. Shopee educates people on how to use their application, an online marketplace for micro-entrepreneurs.

Following the concern on education, Ed Sunico shared that through their “Kalyeserye,” they were able to find the right people to mentor and teach them the basics on entrepreneurship, similar to what we have been doing in our mentorship program. We are also fortunate that we had Gov. Garcia in the meeting as Bataan is one of the fastest growing local economies in the country. He reported that they plan to provide incentives for small businesses who will be part of the initiative. He is also willing to make Bataan to be a proof of concept, a pilot project site for all fintech programs.

Lastly, Rep. Peter Unabia gladly informed us that they are working on the legislation needed for MSMEs to scale up. Recently, they proposed a multimillion budget for the Kapatid Mentor Me Program, one of Go Negosyo’s efforts in scaling up MSMEs through mentorship.

I thank all the attendees in the meeting for actively participating in the digitalization of MSMEs. We are really serious about this. The private sector is doing their part in connecting the consumers, merchants, and different networks to one inclusive ecosystem.

There are many things and pain points to address so we still have a long way to go but this is a good start. Digital will make the economy inclusive and we will achieve prosperity for every Filipino.

Digitalization of MSMEs

Eric Alberto, Chief Revenue Officer of PLDT and Smart; Orlando Vea, President and CEO of Voyager Innovations; Manny Pangilinan, Chairman and CEO of PLDT, Dindo Marzan, Managing Director and Vice President of Voyager Innovations, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion; and Lito Villanueva, Managing Director of FINTQ.

I was recently invited by FINTQ, PLDT’s financial technology arm, to their FINTQ on Q which is a roundtable series with thought leaders where I discussed digitalization of MSMEs.

We are indeed in the world of smart phones and digital advancement. I was relating to the audience how our house maids were all on their phones during the evening and would hardly wake up the next morning. Yes, smart phones are now vital in our everyday lives. Our phones are more attached to us. My kids used to have desktops, then had laptops then now, they’re in their smartphones all the time. Our lifestyle has extremely changed.

Most of the large corporations which started as offline businesses are somehow challenged because they are disrupted. Many of the modern companies today started online. This only proves that we are really evolving. There are advantages and disadvantages that we all must adjust to.

In the next years, I believe that the Philippines will have a large contribution to global digitalization. Our entrepreneurs now want to be players of the online space. This is why I am a believer that the way forward for many micro and small entrepreneurs is to go and participate in the growing digital economy. They will just have to be mentored to maximize their money and market opportunities.

That is why I commend FINTQ for opening DigiHub which is a great venue for mentorship. With the digital solutions available, they will just have to be mentored for them to scale up in the online market. In the end, we can mentor everyone but it will be useless without money to grow their business and market to sell their products. I am glad that many banks and corporations are willing to create programs for the MSMEs.

Lito Villanueva, FINTQ’s Managing Director also announced that FINTQ is partnering with financial institutions for agri-financing, including digital lending in the curriculum for Go Negosyo’s agri-mentoring program. Mentoring the Mentors is also key in encouraging MSMEs and guiding in the digitization process through a mobile-based platform by bringing in the digital icons and best practices. I am glad that FINTQ can further collaborate with all players in the Go Negosyo ecosystem to progress with the mindset and their organizations to go digital all the way.

Additionally, our long-time partner in the advocacy, PLDT, officially launched the search for the next batch of MVP Bossings. I remember that I was part of the initial batch of the MVP Bossings who are entrepreneurs who have triumphed in their businesses and have become an inspiration to other entrepreneurs. For the past years, PLDT SME Nation, PLDT’s arm for MSME development, has recognized over 100 MVP Bossings which includes Felix Ang, Vicki Belo, Tennyson Chen, Julie Gandionco, Injap Sia, Dennis Uy, Tony Tan Caktiong among others.

Bossing Awards officially launched by PLDT Chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan together with Jovy Hernandez, SVP and Head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups; Bossing Roberto Claudio of Toby’s Sports; Eric Alberto, Chief Revenue Officer of PLDT and Smart & President and CEO of ePLDT; Bossing Bernie Liu of Golden ABC; Bossing & Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion; Bossing Tony Tan Caktiong of Jollibee Foods Corporation; and Mitch Locsin, Head of PLDT SME Nation.

The MVP Bossings recognizes the accomplished owners of micro, small, and medium enterprises in celebration of the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit. This year’s event will coincide with the 90th and 10th anniversary celebrations of PLDT Inc. and PLDT SME Nation, respectively which will make the celebration more special. They will also include two new special awards for Excellence in Local Government and Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility will also be given this year.

As Jovy Hernandez, SVP and Head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups said, these Bossings are “a testament to the endless possibilities local entrepreneurs can achieve if they continue to be fearless in pursuing their ideas — no matter how impossible they think it is.” During my speech, I shared the importance of the 3MS: Mentorship, Money and Market. I also related how important it is for entrepreneurs to go digital and be more technologically innovative in order to further scale up. “We are moving from offline to online. It may be a disruptor to some of us in the offline industry but [online] paves the way for our micro and small entrepreneurs to create their own destiny.”

I also added, “I don’t think offline will completely disappear. I think it will be complimentary to online. But we need these two to be able to help our micro and small entrepreneurs.” With these players, both PLDT, FINTQ and the other organizations who can help our micro and small entrepreneurs scale up by going digital, we are assured that there will be a brighter future for our country.

Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth

Manny Pangilinan, PA Joey Concepcion & Jaime Zobel de Ayala.

The road to an inclusive economy will be long and hard, but with everyone contributing to the mission, the goal will be achieved in no time. With President Duterte leading the charge for change to happen, we are assured that more Filipinos will experience the growth of our economy.

I am privileged to be part of both the public and private sector. Public as the presidential adviser for entrepreneurship, and private as a member of the business community. I am somehow serving to provide linkage between these two sectors which are vital to infrastructure development projects.

Since one of the President’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda highlights the importance of public-private partnerships for infrastructure development, it is vital to link the conglomerates to the right departments in order to explore collaborations.

Since January 2017, the conglomerates all agreed to find ways to help the administration and collaborate with the economic team. Since then, we had several meetings with the economic team led by Sec. Sonny Dominguez to explore the Build Build Build program which is focused on infrastructure development including airport improvements. Our conglomerates are glad to be of service not just to the government, but most especially to the whole Filipino nation.

Last Tuesday, I chaired the private-public sector meeting to discuss the key issues on infrastructure. We met with the economic team including Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, and Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia to discuss the developments of the airports in the country. It was a fruitful discussion with Sec. Tugade sharing the updates on certain projects. As you may have known by now, some conglomerates have submitted their respective proposals for our Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The NAIA Consortium, which includes Aboitiz InfraCapital, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Alliance Global Group, Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings, and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. have submitted a multi-billion worth of project which aims to improve and expand the exixting NAIA terminals.

Conglomerates met with the economic team led by Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade to discuss infrastructure programs.

The hardworking DOTR Sec. Arthur Tugade explained his vision and position on airports, specially NAIA. As we all know, NAIA is crucial as this creates the first experience of what to expect in the Philippines. When we land in a country, this is what we get to see first and a good impression is important. This is what Sec. Art has been trying to do with the resources he has. His vision of getting the provincial airports, like Clark and others, as the eventual gateways of international flights is the right direction. I would say there are quite a number of improvements considering the problems he inherited, but we need to take NAIA to a world-class level like Singapore, Hongkong, and Japan, most especially if we want tourism to be the next big thing. It is worth noting that according to a recent SWS survey commissioned by the private sector, 62 percent of Filipinos prefer to have NAIA where it is currently located. I am sure Sec. Art and the economic team will make the right decision on the unsolicited offer they have today.

With these tie-ups and collaborations on airport terminals, highways, and cargo hubs, we look forward to a developed transportation and logistics system in the country.

Apart from the airport projects, DPWH Sec. Mark also updated the group on the NLEX-SLEX connector which will start its civil works this year. Other expected infrastructure projects include a harbor link which is now 70 percent in civil works and will greatly contribute in Manila decongestion. The Laguna Lake highway will soon be finished around June or July this year. DPWH is also widening the busy area of Lawton and plans an extension for NAIA 2 which improves connectivity to the port. Construction of the Skyway extension is also underway and will open the first exit by the end of the second quarter of this year. Sec. Mark also shared the major flagship projects outside Metro Manila which includes Metro Cebu expressway, the Davao coastal road, and the Bacolod economic highway.

He also briefly discussed the Boracay rehabilitation program which starts on April 26. The rehabilitation will include road widening and development for better traffic flow. Currently, the circumferential roads in Boracay is about eight meters and they plan to have 12 meters right of way. They have brought in their equipment, and whoever has their properties encroaching on the main road will be demolished. Hopefully, there will be a better Boracay at the end of this year.

Sec. Arthur Tugade, Sec. Mark Villar, and Sec. Ernesto Pernia.

Sec. Mark appreciates the cooperation from the private sector since majority of the highway projects will pass through one or two of the conglomerates’ properties. He also hopes the private sector will continue to support the infrastructure projects.

Sec. Mon Lopez then updated the group on the issue of contractualization which is now under the discussion of DTI and DOLE. He said the executive department agrees that “the current labor code as it stands is a fair law already and addresses all needs.” He said they highlighted that job generation is important as it would affect the investments in the Philippines since there are indications from the investors that if there is uncertainty in this regard, they could easily locate to other ASEAN countries like Myanmar, Cambodia or Vietnam.

Through these engagements of the public and private sectors, we have the chance to dialogue and discuss the plans and projects of the country. The private sector has pledged its support to the government and its projects, and is one with the Duterte administration in planning for a better future for the country.

Of rehabilitation and development

PA Joey Concepcion had a meeting with Cong Peter Unabia, Cong Teodoro Montoro and Cong Marisol Panotes. The group discussed potential increase of government support to programs with high impact on MSME’s growth.

Like what I have said before, the success of the MSME development programs will depend on the support of not just the private sector, but most especially of the government officials.

Just this Tuesday, I met with Rep. Peter Unabia, chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development of the House of Representatives. He was joined by Rep. Marisol Panotes, representative of the 2nd district of Camarines Sur; Rep. Teodoro Montoro, representative of AASENSO party list, and Melvin Abanto of SB Corp.

I discussed the current initiatives of Go Negosyo for micro and small businesses and proudly shared the milestones of Kapatid Mentor ME Program with Department of Trade and Industry and the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program with Department of Agriculture. They found the programs very encouraging and helpful to MSMEs.

Rep. Unabia informed us of House Resolutions 1771 and 1172 which seeks additional budgets for the DTI’s programs: Pondo Para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3), Shared Service Facilities, trade fairs, and the Kapatid for Mentor ME Program.

The Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development has identified that one of the barriers for growth of MSMEs is the lack of access to financing. Thus to fulfill the directive of President Duterte to replace the 5-6 money lending scheme, the P3 program was created to provide simplified loan processes for MSMEs. The P3 Program was implemented through SB Corp. and has reported the accomplishments for year 2017. With numbers and rates to back up the success of the program, the committee is seeking a budget of P6 billion in the coming 2019 budget from this year’s budget of only P1 billion to support more micro and small entrepreneur-borrowers.

Aside from this, the success of Kapatid Mentor ME program, Shared Service Facilities and trade fairs were also noted. With this, Rep. Unabia and the committee is asking for an additional budget for the three programs. Shared Service Facilities is seeking a P1.5 billion budget from only P1 billion. Trade fairs, which has a budget of only P20.6 million this year, is proposed to have a P44 million budget.

Our partnership with DTI for the Kapatid Mentor ME Program works well for the benefit of MSMEs. Thus, the additional budget would aid more roll-outs and batches in the different provinces in the country. Rep. Unabia and his team is asking for P300 million to be allotted for the program.

We appreciate the support of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development led by Rep. Unabia. With their assistance, we aim to bring stronger mentorship and support to all MSMEs.

* * *

Go Negosyo led by Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar together with Abdari Lininding (DOLE TUPAD and Local Coordinator), Abdulmahid Ampaso (Land Owner), Rocky Dimaculangan, and Jose Dagala of Marcventures.

It has been almost a year since the devastating Marawi siege which lasted for five months. I remember that it was in the last week of May when the news broke out that the progressive city of Marawi had been occupied by the Maute group. Considered as the longest modern history armed-conflict, this battle of Marawi has destroyed and ended so many lives.

But just like how Go Negosyo has been supportive of the displaced families, armed forces, and bereaved families of the fallen troops since day one, Go Negosyo continuous to support the local government of Lanao del Sur in its rehabilitation and livelihood programs for the internally displaced families.

Just last week, the Go Negosyo team led by Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar, our ARMM programs head and adviser for agripreneurship, led the launch of the 3rd Model Farm  Kapatid for Agri Program with Marcventures as primary donor, and Marawi City local government, Task Force Bangon Marawi, Department of Labor and Employment – Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (DOLE-TUPAD), Department of Agriculture, provincial local government of Lanao del Sur, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Tindig Marawi Movement, and Harbest as project partners.

Following the success of Balo-I and Ramain sites which we celebrated with Harvest festivals, we continue to bring our agri-enterprise initiatives to more areas. This time, it was in Barangay Sagonsongan.

This agri-enterprise program is under our program Kapatid for Marawi, one of our Mindanao development programs. It is a 12-week intensive farm training which aims to achieve food self-sufficiency and sustainable agribusiness by farming cash crops and hybrid vegetables and fruits for more than 500 registered participants.

Ginggay said, “By empowering them through agri technology training and farm best practices, IDPs have the opportunity to feed themselves, their families and their communities, and create a sustainable business as they rebuild their lives.”

Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. is one of our new partners in this agriculture program we have for Marawi. Isidro Alcantara, chairman of Marcventures shared, “We strive to ensure that mining will provide livelihood not only during the life of the mine, but more importantly, long after mining has ceased. As one of the partners of President Duterte, we in Marcventures believe that sustainable livelihood projects such as the Agri Model Farm should be given priority in community development programs.”

This is just one of the many humanitarian and negosyo programs we plan to bring to Marawi as it undergoes rehabilitation. It is true that it might take a long time before the government and other stakeholders can bring back the vibrant life of the city, but with the help of all partners, we look forward to the renewed Marawi.