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The Christmas season comes to a close, and in five hours as I write this column we will be welcoming the year 2013. Time does fly so fast especially when you have family and friends celebrating with you. Hosting close to 100 people for the holidays at our home by the beach, including my father’s 81st birthday, was a challenging task. I invited New Zealand Ambassador Reuben Levermore to stay with us for two nights and welcome the New Year the Pinoy way. This is his first time to see a better view of the Batangas beaches, and he is amazed not only with the scenery, but in seeing how Filipinos bond together with family and friends. Maybe ours was a bit overwhelming for him because of our number.
As we look back at 2012, let us reflect on the things that we did right as a country, starting with PNoy’s economic team. Sec. Cesar Purisima, Sec. Greg Domingo, and Gov. Amando Tetangco did all the right things this year, and this column will run out of space if we would enumerate everything that they have accomplished. We saw greater transparency in P-Noy’s governance, especially with the members of his cabinet. P-Noy walked his talk; he did what he said he would do. He has intensified his campaign against corruption through the impeachment of Corona. He has also signed two important bills: the RH bill, as well as the Sin Tax bill, which will allow the country to gain more revenue from cigarettes and liquor. These alone have created a higher level of confidence with investors, portraying an image that our President will not stop in doing what is correct. These are the improvements that the investing public wants to see. But more importantly, these are the reasons why our stock market and peso is so strong, and that the business confidence is at an all-time high. This point of view came not just from me, but also from the investors I have met during the last three months of 2012. I am not here just to praise this government, as I was a doubting Thomas during the last election. But I am glad that I was proven wrong, and that our country is finally seeing a leader that can help change our destiny from being a laggard in Asia to a country that is now admired and respected.
A reporter asked me the other day about how does 2013 look like for the Philippines. In my opinion, we will see 2013 as another great year. The stock market may not repeat the same growth percentage, but nothing is impossible. RFM stocks, for example, have experienced a great improvement this year. We started at one peso in January, and we ended the year at five pesos. There is also a possibility that we could get the investment grade rating this year if the numbers continue to grow and reach the seven percent level, which we might achieve during the election period. Hopefully, we would see those at the bottom of the pyramid participate in the economic boom. Skilled labor, especially in the construction industry, will continue as more employment is generated with the expansion of local companies.
We may have been seeing improvements in most aspects, but the real challenge for all of us is to see micro and small entrepreneurs rise above the “break-even” status. In our small way and together with our band of entrepreneurs and angelpreneurs, Go Negosyo will be more aggressive as we continue to teach and mentor aspiring and existing negosyantes. Jan. 21 is Go Negosyo’s 2nd Filipino Technopreneurship Summit, which we will now hold at the SMX Convention Center due to the increasing number of attendees. Successful Filipino-Americans in the Silicon Valley will be participating in this activity, such as Engr. Dado Banatao, Eric Manlunas, Winston Damarillo, Paco Sandejas, and Myla Villanueva. On top of that, Go Negosyo has partnered with the PLDT group, headed by Manny Pangilinan, as they will help level-up the summit’s presentation as the leading provider of the latest cloud technology services useful for SMEs today. The goal is for the summit to show the different business models in the field of technology that aspiring technopreneurs can adopt, such as mobile apps development, software or website development, e-commerce platform, online retail, among others. Moving on, we will launch our 8th book on agripreneurs in February, while the Women Entrepreneurship Summit will be on March 1. We plan to do the Youth Summit across the country again to reach more young people and encourage them to take the entrepreneurial route. Our partnership with DTI will continue with the SME Caravans across the country, as well as the OFW and Family Summit and the MVP Bossing Awards with Villar Foundation and PLDT SME Nation, respectively. We shall have our regular monthly Negosyo Seminars and Level-up Seminars. Go Negosyo’s Negosyo Mo, Bukas Ko program will also continue, as we enlist the support of more entrepreneurs who are willing to give our out-of-school youth a chance to finish their education by employing them this year.
Yes, time indeed flies so fast. Before we know it, 2014 is here. This will be my sixth year writing for The Philippine Star. People often ask me why I continue to write, despite the fact that I did not take up journalism. I felt that this column can inspire others, as this is my way of sharing my experiences and building relationships, which will eventually help us become a true community that we are destined to be while we are here in this earth.
For 2013, my wish is for myself, my wife, my children, my parents, and my family to be blessed with a happy, safe, and healthy year. My other wish is for all of us to appreciate not only the things that we have accomplished in our new year’s resolutions, but also the blessings that we have received. We should always value the relationships that we have with our family and friends. Those of us who have elderly parents should treasure every moment with them. But most importantly, being content with what we have is what will make us happy at the end of the day, no matter who we are in society. Some of us have some more in life, some of us have less, but the important thing is that we are happy and that the people around us would benefit from our happiness.
I will be sharing with you how other entrepreneurs feel about the coming 2013 in my following columns. Happy New Year to all.