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With MSMEs making up 99.5 percent of businesses and generating millions of jobs for Filipinos, the choice of the next President of the Philippines will be a crucial one for the country’s millions of small entrepreneurs.
Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said that former Sen. Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo have presented specific plans to benefit the country’s small enterprises. “Judging from the platforms they have presented on Go Negosyo’s Kandidatalks forum, both of them understand and prioritize the development of the MSME sector,” he said. In particular, Concepcion highlighted Marcos’s and Robredo’s plans for helping MSMEs gain easier access to capital.
“I am very hopeful that should either one become the next President of the Philippines, it will be good news for our small entrepreneurs,” he said.
He explained that because the majority of businesses in the country are small businesses, their return to health will be crucial in the Philippines’s economic recovery. “Big corporations were able to weather the pandemic, but in terms of the country’s economic recovery, they cannot do it alone. We need everybody to be healthy to be able to fully recover from the pandemic,” he said.
“The lockdowns, especially in the earlier months, have affected their working capital, and even their equity, due to losses in income,” he explained. And while the Philippines is slowly opening up and loosening restrictions, Concepcion believes many MSMEs will have difficulty recapitalizing their businesses.
During the Kandidatalks forum held late last year, Marcos and Robredo shared with Go Negosyo their plans for MSMEs should they become the next President. The two candidates have since echoed these plans in media and public events.
Marcos said he would allocate a portion of Internal Revenue Allotments to MSMEs, grant tax amnesties to those who suffered during the pandemic and rationalize taxation for small businesses in order to encourage them to pay taxes and build their credit rating. He also believes that renewable energy will help attract capital-intensive investments.
Robredo, meanwhile, plans to give MSMEs better access to credit and integration into public procurement programs. She plans to allocate Php100 billion in a stimulus package for MSMEs as part of the country’s COVID recovery plan, and provide special loans to help make their businesses ready for the new normal.
Concepcion said Marcos appreciates the importance of MSMEs in job creation, and that any effort in this sector will be felt even by the big corporations. Robredo, he said, has long been a supporter of MSMEs, and that she understands the framework of helping small entrepreneurs and even incorporates these objectives into her projects.
Concepcion added that both Marcos and Robredo have expressed how their platforms to help MSMEs align with Go Negosyo, the non-profit he founded to help alleviate poverty by promoting entrepreneurship among Filipinos.
In an interview, Marcos expressed his support of Go Negosyo. “‘Yung kay Joey Concepcion na Go Negosyo maganda ang kanilang ginagawa,” he said. “There are some private groups that are trying to promote entrepreneurship. ‘Yan ang dapat nating gawin and government has to play a part in that,” he said in the interview.
Robredo, meanwhile, likened her office’s Angat Buhay program with Go Negosyo’s various programs and projects in its work of linking small businesses to the wider market, particularly in the field of agriculture and tourism. As Vice President, she has worked with several Go Negosyo programs, specifically Go Negosyo’s Mentor Me program.
Concepcion observed that both candidates know the great potential of MSMEs in alleviating poverty, creating prosperity and greater equality for all. “I think it will be a top agenda, whoever wins,” he said.
“One of the biggest challenges that we face is the level of poverty in this country,” he said. “To create prosperity for every Filipino, MSMEs have to be among the top focus of the next administration.”