Building a more inclusive ASEAN

ASEAN-BAC Philippines chair Joey Concepcion led the successful ASEAN Business Investments Summit 2017. President Duterte, together with other ASEAN country leaders, graced the event that launched Concepcion’s ASEAN-BAC legacy project ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network.

 

Normally, the first week of November is scheduled as our family’s vacation, and a solemn day of remembering our departed loved ones. This week, we are off to Thailand to attend the multiple ASEAN engagements, including the ASEAN Inclusive Business and Investment Summit (ABIS), and ASEAN Business Advisory Council briefing, among others. This year also, the ASEAN-BAC chairmanship will be handed over from Thailand to Vietnam.

The ABIS will cover different themes that shed light on the opportunities and challenges brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4th IR). There will be a total of six sessions, dealing with topics such as how to maximize gains from the global value chains (GVC), the processes of digital adaptation, transformation of the manufacturing sector, MSMEs’ access to finance, digital connectivity, human empowerment and development, as well as the role of the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) program in helping achieve inclusive growth in the region.

AMEN was among our legacy projects as the chairman of the ASEAN-BAC in 2017. With a vision to create a more inclusive ASEAN, I started the advocacy with Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez who also believes in the importance of mentorship to help our micro, small, and medium-sized entrepreneurs. The AMEN project aims to assemble a pool of duly-certified mentors across the ASEAN region, as well as to develop and share world-class MSME teaching modules among ASEAN member-countries.

Last Sept. 27, as the chairman of the ASEAN-BAC Philippines, I had the honor of leading the culmination of the successful implementation of the pilot program of AMEN in three ASEAN member states (AMS), namely Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. With the support of the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), the program provided MSMEs with free and quality mentorship by bringing together a network of competent mentors across the ASEAN states. We believe that MSMEs should be guided throughout the process, from inception to conceptualization and implementation of their business ideas.

Mentorship is not new to Go Negosyo as we have been advocating this for almost 15 years now. As we celebrate our anniversary next year, we are proud to say that our mentorship program has already reached a global platform and is helping more micro and small entrepreneurs. I remember when Go Negosyo started in 2005, not everyone was open to the idea of entrepreneurship. Doing business was not the first career choice out of college. With the aid of today’s digital era, many are already jumping into the idea of innovation and entrepreneurship.

President Duterte also attested to the significance of AMEN, saying the program not only provides more jobs for the communities, but also helps in the transformation of our MSMEs into more globally competitive entities.

He also called on the ASEAN-BAC to help upgrade the skills of the workforce in ASEAN. Speaking as a guest of honor during the ASEAN-BAC interface in Thailand last year, President Duterte emphasized the importance of technology and digitalization, which affects all industries and is thus essential for all MSMEs to gain a deeper understanding of.

This year, Thailand’s theme is basically about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In our cause and advocacy, I’ve come to see that the most urgent task is helping MSMEs to adapt to the 4th IR, which is marked by continuously evolving digital and technological innovation. We have to teach our entrepreneurs and businessmen how to adapt to the dynamic landscape and adopt technology and innovation to further their businesses. It’s moving their enterprises from simply operating on survival mode to sustainability and success. This is essentially where the importance of mentorship comes in.

Recently, Go Negosyo teamed up with ASEAN-BAC Philippines and the Singapore Management University to lead the first-ever ASEAN Family Business Conference that was attended by more than 800 participants. The conference also allowed local and foreign mentors to bring new insights into key areas driving inclusive economic growth in the country, such as the areas of agribusiness, tourism, and digitalization.

Our entrep-mentors not only impart essential technical knowhow to our MSMEs, but also link them to essential financing institutions and market connections so they can start or scale up their own businesses. They are agents of inclusive growth who extend our mission of prosperity for all to every possible area in the region.

Mentoring, in fact, is also a life-changing experience for our mentors because every session is an opportunity for them to get a deeper understanding of issues confronting our micro and small entrepreneurs. I believe that through MSME mentorship, the ASEAN countries will have a greater chance of accelerating their growth and enhancing the well-being of their people, especially those living below the poverty line. I see that changing people’s mindset toward entrepreneurship, especially digital entrepreneurship, is what will move our society forward. It has always been my mission to help enhance the capacity of the widest network of people as possible so that they themselves can transform their own lives. I hope the AMEN will continue this advocacy for many more years until our mission of inclusive growth is achieved not only in the region, but also in the whole globe.

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Building a Stronger PHL-INDIA Partnership

India President Ram Nath Kovind commended Go Negosyo advocacy led by its founder, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, for making a significant contribution to fostering new enterprises in the Philippines, during his speech at the India-Philippines Bussiness Conclave and 4th India-ASEAN Business Summit last Oct. 19. Concepcion was also one of India’s Padma Shri awardees last year.

The Philippines and India recently celebrated their 70 years of diplomatic relations. To mark this significant event, Republic of India President Ram Nath Kovind traveled to the Philippines for a state visit, the first in seven years that an Indian leader has visited the country. Part of President Kovind’s agenda was to meet with the business community in the Philippines and the ASEAN. He was able to do so through the Philippine-Indian Business Conclave and the 4th ASEAN-India Business Summit, hosted by the Embassy of India led by Ambassador Jaideep Mazumdar, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (Philippines) Inc. (FICCI) headed by its President Rex Daryanani, and Go Negosyo.

President Kovind and I had first met in New Delhi last year, during President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to India, during which I had the privilege of joining the official business delegation. I had the honor of receiving from President Kovind the Padma Shri Award, the fourth highest civilian award from the Republic of India. I am proudly its sole awardee from the Philippines and for that I’m grateful and honored.

This recognition has only inspired me to push harder for the advocacies of Go Negosyo, especially in its mission of empowering micro and small entrepreneurs in the Philippines and across the ASEAN. I also believe that with my experience as a Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship to two presidents, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and now President Duterte, I carry a great responsibility of designing and executing a development model that pursues inclusive growth through public and private sector participation.

This development vision bears semblance to what President Kovind had mentioned during his address at the business summit. President Kovind cited the works of Go Negosyo in spearheading programs that strengthen the entrepreneurship community. This recognition from a highly respected leader confirms that we are on the right path of helping our micro and small entrepreneurs.

At the event, the FICCI – led by its president, Rex Daryanani – also conferred an Excellence Award to a number of Filipino government and non-government leaders. I, along with Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Jaideep Mazumdar, Sen. Migz Zubiri, and Sec. Ramon Lopez, among others, were recognized.

I also had the opportunity of meeting Filipino children who were the beneficiaries of the Philippines-India Pediatric Liver Transplant Program in Makati Shangri-La. India’s liver transplant services are among the best and most affordable in the region. And since 2017, around 35 babies from the Philippines have had the life-saving medical procedure done in India.

I remember when we were in India, I had the chance of visiting one of its hospitals, the Max Healthcare Institute. I saw firsthand its excellent treatment facilities, something the Philippines is still struggling to execute given the high cost of specialized medical procedures, equipment, and medicine.

This is one means of how I see India further helping the region and the Philippines – by launching projects that lead to better healthcare practices. The Philippines has much to benefit from strengthening collaborations with India.

Another sector where the Philippines and India can enhance their ties is in agriculture. Many micro and small entrepreneurs in both countries belong in this sector. The Philippines has already benefited from Indian agribusiness investors with the likes of Prasad Seeds Philippines Inc., an Indian corn seed processing company that has a facility in Central Luzon.

Tourism is also big in India, as well as in the Philippines. It is evident through the development of huge and accessible airports, and tourism establishments found in both countries.

The last and the most important, area that can spur trade for both the Philippines and India is digitalization. Digitalization I believe is the game-changer in every nation. We are already doing a good job in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector and can do even more, given the right development strategies.

India and the Philippines are two countries with great potential, and the real challenge now is how policymakers and the private sector in each country can work hand-in-hand with their counterparts in the global scene. Prosperity for all – with no man left behind –  is the inspiring and empowering vision that drives us all, and may we never forget that very mission.

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Next year, we will launch the Women 2020, a summit that aims to gather the biggest number of female personalities across the Philippines and ASEAN region to provide an avenue for women to collaborate and amplify calls for empowerment. Different plenary sessions will cover various topics such as women in agriculture, tourism, and digitalization. Women 2020 will be done in collaboration with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council PH, Go Negosyo and the Singapore Management University.

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Angat Lahat Alliance Supports President’s SONA

Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance launched in Malacanang Palace last August 14, 2018.

Last Monday, President Duterte delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) which presented the achievements and plans of the administration in the next three years. We are one with the President in his plans for the country. Some members of the business sector have also expressed their reaction to the President’s SONA. Let me share them with you:

“There was a high expectation to PRRD’s SONA and he did not disappoint for the following reasons:

From the onset, focusing on our country’s much-needed transformation by challenging the august body of elected and appointed government officials to tackle the still pervasive practice of corruption. I pray they all take heed and follow the President’s aversion to corruption and bureaucracy by going on record in public forum when invited to speak. Such effort to change our image will inadvertently attract more foreign direct investments and job creation and enhance the ease of doing business helping the MSMEs.

Secondly, his sincerity and persistence in making life easier for the marginalized, civil servants; public teachers, etc. with education, digital inclusiveness, salary standardization and improved peace and order.

Thirdly, putting emphasis on the agricultural sector’s need to access funding and technology. Issues on environment, hygiene and water concerns are highlighted for sustainably.” – George Barcelon, Chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“The SONA of the President is very precise on what he wants from both chambers – creating new departments and agencies, solving the traffic problem in Metro Manila and the elimination of corruption. His stand on the West Philippine Sea is very practical and realistic. Instead of an armed conflict with China which we can never win, let us sit down and see what collaboration we can do together without surrendering our sovereignty.” – Henry Lim Bon Liong, President of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry

“We appreciate the honesty of the President calling a spade a spade on the status of drugs and corruption in the country.  He has set the tone on his demand for accomplishments and speed. His call to prioritize action is admirable and timely. We believe that with his approval ratings, he has and will continue to rally the citizenry behind the change of mindset that he continues to advocate and work towards.

His declaration that the enemy is us and that we are our own tormentors will help the citizenry realize that we need to no longer tolerate all criminal acts such as corruption.

On the West Philippine Sea, we agree with the President that a balancing act is required and that this must be addressed in a peaceful way.

We are delighted that the President is clear that the MSMEs hold the promise to eradicate poverty and this shows that he will continue to focus on this most important sector to drive inclusiveness, growth, and poverty alleviation. His focus on ease of doing business and now his holding agencies accountable will only strengthen the steps already taken to achieve this.

His declaration that he plans to continue to aggressively work towards reform in the second half of his term is welcome and most appreciated.” – Rex Daryanani, President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry

“The SONA had familiar themes on drugs and corruption, but we welcome the directive on various measures to encourage the growth of business – simplification of  processes and shortening issuance of permits to three days, going online, passing the TRABAHO bill and the rest of the comprehensive tax reform package, passage of the National Land Use Act, and more loans for MSMEs. Addressing the issues of the day such as forming a Department of Water and Department of Disaster Resilience are also welcome measures as is the more pragmatic tone on improving public sector salaries, including those of the teachers. The focus on traffic management and infrastructure are, of course, expected. Hopefully, the government is able to live up to the promises.” Riza Mantaring, President of the Management Association of the Philippines

“With the ease of doing business, he ordered the mayors and the local government units to release business clearances and permits within three days. This is a big help for MSMEs. He also seemed so determined for a better Philippines which is really what we want – to grow the middle class and achieve inclusive growth through inclusive businesses for prosperity for all.”
 Bing Limjoco, President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry

“It was good to see the President focusing on corruption as corruption is decimating our economy, but it will need more dramatic action to get it truly reduced. Prioritizing the passage of tax bills is essential and urgently needed if we are to get much-needed new investment. There are six other bills the business sector needs the Congress to tackle urgently too. I suggest joint committee meetings to speed completion. The creation of a Department of Water was a necessary action given water’s importance. His stand on the West Philippine Sea makes good pragmatic sense. Concentration on Build Build Build will be a lasting legacy of his administration that will benefit us all.”  Peter Wallace, Chairman and founder of the Wallace Business Forum

“The Philippine Retailers Association supports the President’s initiatives and declaration in helping create an environment conducive to business as well as easing the burden of the people.

The retail industry strongly supports the government’s efforts at promoting the ease of doing business, especially on faster issuance of permits and other business documents. This will promote more efficiencies for businesses in general, especially for SMEs. This will also help encourage entrepreneurship, knowing that setting up a business will no longer be tedious and they can soon start operations.

Also, we are happy that the water supply problem will now be taken cared of by one agency that will be specifically tasked with overseeing this issue. This will greatly ease the burden on the public.

Lastly, the President’s announcement to allocate funding for MSMEs is highly laudable. This will help grow our middle class and this will, in turn, boost our economy.” – Rosemarie Ong, President of the Philippine Retailers Association

The Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. (SEIPI) thanks President Duterte for his commitment to good governance by combating corruption and keeping civil servants accountable to the Filipino people.  We especially commend his leadership in cleaning up the Bureau of Customs and implementing the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act.

We share the same goals that the President aims to achieve especially in reducing poverty – through inclusive employment. We thank the President for keeping education and MSME development in his agenda of priorities.

We agree with lowering corporate income taxes for individuals and the improvement of tax administration. Moreover,  we trust that the President will work towards improving (enhancing) fiscal incentives to promote foreign direct investments so that our industry can compete globally, attract new technologies and increase its capacity to employ inclusively and impact local communities. As the largest export sector, we support his vision for regional development, especially in rural and high-growth areas.” – Dan Lachica, President of SEIPI.

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Mentor ME Philippines

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion together with the mentees and mentors of the Kapatid Mentor Me Program in Antipolo City last May 17, 2019. Also in are Rizal Vice Governor Jun Rey San Juan Jr. DTI Region 4A RD Marilou Toledo, DTI Rizal PD Mercedes Parreño, and mentors PJ Lanot and Jorge Wieneke.

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) development has been at the forefront of our entrepreneurship advocacy. We believe that in order to achieve the inclusive growth that we all aspire for, we need to equip our micro and small entrepreneurs with entrepreneurship education, training, and other means of mentorship.

For the past three years of President Duterte’s administration, my office as presidential adviser for entrepreneurship has been supportive of the mission of prosperity for all – meaning no one will be left behind. That is why, through Go Negosyo and its legion of public and private sector partners, we are all working hand-in-hand to make this mission become reality.

Mentorship has been at the core of these programs as we believe that with guidance of expert mentors, micro and small entrepreneurs will be able to propel their businesses to success and development. Our programs have gathered support from more than 700 mentors nationwide and partners from business and government sector such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), among others who are providing entrepreneurship education to our MSMEs.

Mentees and mentors of the Kapatid Mentor Me Program joined PA Joey Concepcion for a photo opportunity during their launch last May 21, 2019 in San Pablo City, Laguna. Also in photo are DTI Region 4A RD Marilou Toledo, DTI Laguna PD Susan Palo and mentors Clarke Nebrao, Sherill Quintana, Jenny Wieneke, and Jorge Wieneke.

One of our successful programs is the Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) program in partnership with DTI. This program aims to help MSMEs scale up their business through a 10-module program done by weekly coaching and mentoring by business owners and practitioners on different functional areas of entrepreneurship.

In the recently concluded National MSME Summit of DTI and the MSMED Council, it was reported that 5,393 mentees have graduated from the program and have been equipped with additional knowledge and skills on how to improve their businesses.

Bernadette Salcedo, owner of Fun Cake Delights and Catering Services from Baguio City, shared, “With the help of KMME, I was able to acquire additional knowledge and training. Currently, I am now helping those aspiring MSMEs to be successful also. The program has helped my business more than I expected.”

Another success story of KMME is Charito Eudela, owner of Isay Dried Fish Dealer from Roxas City. She said, “Through KMME, I transformed our business from wholesaling to retailing wherein we penetrated pasalubong centers, trade fairs and most especially, we also got the chance to display our products in a mall in Roxas City. The program helped us in organizing our business.”

These are just some of the success stories we have gathered throughout the three years. Some were even interviewed and featured by different media outlets and it is our pride and joy to see them succeed.

Another program that has reached all regions in the country is the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program which we do in partnership with the Department of Agriculture. We aim to help agri-entrepreneurs through agri-based associations and cooperatives by capacitating them in various areas of business.  Since its launch in 2017, KAMMP was able to bring the program in all 16 regions, successfully train more than 2,500 farmers, and produce graduates in close to 1,000 agri-based cooperatives and farmer associations.

Marlita Basilonia, manager of Kababaihan ng Dasmariñas sa Bagong Milenyo – Barangay Food Terminal from Region 4A shared, “Malaki po ang naitulong sa amin ng KAMMP dahil po na-enhance po ang knowledge namin tungkol sa pagnenegosyo. Yung mga bagay na hindi namin alam natutunan namin talaga at na-inspire po kami na bumangon talaga sa kinalalagyan namin.”

Aside from these, we also have the Money and Market Encounter which gathers KMME graduates of the region for a whole-day session organized to give them first-hand information on financial services, market, and digital platforms that they can tap to further grow their business.

Our free one-on-one mentorship program in malls has been rolled out in more than 20 locations and has benefitted more than 7,000 participants.

Every year, Go Negosyo organizes summits to provide large-scale mentorship which assists more than 50, 000 aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, academe and government enablers. We have prioritized themes on women economic empowerment and development, opportunities for our overseas Filipino workers, agribusiness, technopreneurship/digitalization, and recently, tourism development.

On top of offline mentorship sessions, we also have online mentoring using our Mentor Me app which provides guidance to our MSMEs anywhere, anytime.

These are just some of the programs that are available to help our MSMEs scale up. Since our MSMEs are considered as the backbone of our economy, we envision our country filled with successful and continuously growing entrepreneurs. Through entrepreneurship, there will be more jobs generated, livelihoods created, and poverty will be alleviated. We look forward to the success of these programs in the next three years of President Duterte.

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DIGITAL SUCCESS STORIES

In the rise of today’s digital era, it is important for our micro, small, and medium enterprises to adapt and benefit from these digital technologies and developments. Digitalization creates a great impact on the lives of many Filipinos today. Through digital platforms that provide access to money and market reach, more and more Filipinos have turned into self-earning entrepreneurs. This digital transformation that we are experiencing not only helps our entrepreneurs but also contributes to the goal of the government on inclusive growth.

This led us to create an alliance composed of more than 50 digital platforms called “Angat Lahat sa Digital Alliance,” which committed to influence and educate more Filipinos about digitalization and its impact, especially on microentrepreneurs. These digital platforms such as Grab, Angkas, Lazada, Shopee, Gawin.ph, Lalamove, Paymaya, and Mynt, among others, create opportunities for micro and small entrepreneurs such as the sari-sari store and carinderia owners, habal-habal drivers, masahistas, other professionals and small enterprises related to tourism, and all the entrepreneurs in the informal economy.

The goal is to make about 70 to 80 million Filipinos part of the growing digital economy. The alliance will also help boost the government’s efforts in coming up with a digitalization road map for enterprise development and adoption by all Filipinos in general.

We would like to empower more people to be part of this great digital transformation. Let me share with you some of the many successful digital testimonies from the different digital platforms in the country.

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Negosyo for Peace

Harvest Festival of Marawi-Baloi Farms, one of the successful model farms which benefitted more than 200 local farmers and their families.

 

President Duterte has been serving our country for half of his term now and we have seen many improvements, most especially in economy, infrastructure development, and tourism, among others.

It was recently reported that the administration, through the Department of Transportation and other agencies, has completed 17 airport projects within the last three years. There are also other infrastructure projects under the Build Build Build program that are in the works to provide us with better connectivity and mobility throughout the country.

But aside from these, the administration is also persistent in alleviating poverty through livelihood and micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) development. The government has been supportive of all the initiatives for our micro and small entrepreneurs including the programs of Go Negosyo and my office as presidential adviser for entrepreneurship. We are one with the government in providing additional knowledge and skills to better equip our entrepreneurs toward their success and development.

Additionally, we are also working on programs supporting the vision of the President of lasting peace for Mindanao through development programs for low-income and conflict-ridden communities. The communities are in the provinces of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Through the help of the government, big brother companies and other stakeholders, various initiatives for peacebuilding, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development have been implemented.

These programs started in December 2016 when we launched the Negosyo for Peace in Malacanang. Fast forward to today, we are pleased to share some of our achievements in this area of our advocacy.

Sulu is one of the first pilot areas for our sustainable economic development projects. Through our partners such as Wilcon, Manny O, Uratex, MVP Group, Indian Chamber of Commerce and others, we have completed and turned over five Kapatid Villages located in Jolo, Talipao, Patikul, Maimbung, and Kalinggan-Calauang. We are still building homes in Pata and Siasi.

Classrooms, school supplies, chairs and tables, and other educational support were also provided by our partners – the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, National Bookstore, Uratex, Advance Paper, Funtastic, ATISCO and the Malvar family. Our Education for Peace and Employment was also supported by NCST, the Sulu Provincial Local Government, and Indian Chamber. We also had inclusive business programs such as the farm training, seaweed training, poultry farm, and fishing boats supported by SM Foundation, Harbest, W Group and Bounty Fresh.

The provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, including the city of Marawi are also beneficiaries for our Negosyo for Peace projects. These provinces are rich in agricultural land, thus, we have provided several agri projects including the establishment of nine model farms that provides mentorship and agri-technology training for communities. These farms are supported by Convergys, CDO Foodsphere, Century Pacific Group, Vita Coco, Marcventures, Bo’s Coffee, SEIPI, Rotary Club 3860, Philippine Military Academy Sinagtala Class 86, UK Embassy, ISOC and Udenna Foundation.

Our partners SL Agritech, Aboitiz, Pilmico, Jardine, and Kennemer Foods also provided training and farm support for hybrid rice, yellow corn production, and cacao, respectively. A tractor and truck were also donated by French Baker and United Auctioneers to support  these farms in production and logistical requirements of transporting their crops. Aside from our farmers, fishermen of Ditsaan Ramain Association also received fishing gear from the Indian Chamber and Speedo. The Philippine Franchise Association also held a comprehensive discussion on franchising.

One of our most recent projects is with the group of Commander Bravo of MILF who I met personally in Manila last February. Our partners have supported them with construction materials and other necessities for their Masjid. Our partner Agua Vida provided them also with a water-refilling station.

Sacks of yellow corn seeds were distributed in Upi, Maguindanao.

Recently, we were featured in Gina Lopez’s show G Diaries for our project in Upi, Maguindanao. This project is supported by I LOVE Foundation and Jardine.

Our partners Philippine Airlines, LBC, 2Go, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also provided the logistical support in moving all the donations from our partners to the communities in Mindanao.

These initiatives are on top of our mentoring programs Kapatid Mentor Me (KMME) Program with the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program (KAMMP) with the Department of Agriculture.

Going back, since its launching, these humanitarian and livelihood projects are now valued at more than P135 million. These programs have transformed communities into productive members of the society. To date, the model farms have benefitted 2,448 farmers, and their families have enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

We extend our utmost gratitude to all our partners. The Negosyo for Peace, led by our adviser Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar, is a testament of two things: First, that public and private sector can work together in providing development for all. And second, that prosperity, through entrepreneurship and livelihood, can results in peace in our communities.

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