Let’s get in touch.
We’d love to hear from you.
When President Rodrigo Duterte had his first State of the Nation Address, one of the things he presented is his plans for Micro, Small, and Medium Entrepreneurs development. Together with his economic team including DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, they reported a 10-point agenda that will focus as well on improving the entrepreneurship environment in the country.
Aside from his immense passion in removing drugs and criminality, President Duterte is also keen on alleviating poverty. And this is where I, as Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship, come in – to develop programs that will encourage our fellowmen to pursue entrepreneurship and strengthen the existing programs for our micro and small Kapatid.
Last Friday, Go Negosyo and DTI launched the Mentor Me Program in Davao together with more than 100 Go Negosyo entrepreneurs and advocates who all flew from Manila to mentor, inspire and empower the 700 micro and small entrepreneurs in Davao and nearby provinces. We were surprised to see many of our small Kapatid line up and eagerly register for the whole day mentoring of our entrepreneurs.
Together with the help of Regional Director Bel Ambi and the DTI Region IX team, we prepared for a motivational and empowering session. DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez also joined the program for a special session.
These large entrepreneurs, or “Big Kapatid” willingly shared their stories of success and imparted business advice to the “Small Kapatid” in the audience. Some of the micro entrepreneurs even had a chance to receive one-on-one mentoring with entrepreneurs. Fred Yao, chairman of Zest-O Corp., even got a bit emotional as he related his inspiring journey towards success.
We invited President Duterte to a special town hall discussion with 20 micro entrepreneurs who had a chance to ask questions to him regarding entrepreneurship. Coincidentally, it was the President’s 100th day in office. So it was very fitting to celebrate his achievements in his first months with the masses.
With his permission and his warm acceptance, we gave a new nickname to President and called him “Kuya Rody.” As Kuya Rody, he is the “big brother” to all members of the entrepreneurship community.
Kuya Rody shared his same passion in helping alleviate poverty in the country by encouraging the entrepreneurs to keep on working hard not just for themselves but most importantly for their families.
“Kuya Rody will be our champion big brother for all Kapatid. We will be with you for the next years that you have in office and you have definitely the full confidence of our entrepreneurs and the private sector. Together with our Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, we are committed in helping you solve poverty in our country today through entrepreneurship,” I told President Duterte.
Domingo Videña Jr. of Native Pinoy Cacao and Coffee Enterprises asked Kuya Rody about the abusive traders who are controlling the farmers to which the President said that he will empower the farmers and partner them with cooperatives who can help them in their business.
On the other hand, young entrepreneur, Sophia Zosa of Sofia’s Home-baked Cookies asked Kuya Rody on how can he help millennials or start-up entrepreneurs. He told her that he will provide a budget for financial support for them.
One of the major highlights of the program was Imelda Basilan, a banana cue vendor in Davao for 15 years. Kuya Rody personally asked her about her entrepreneurial journey and her needs as a micro entrepreneur. With her P500 daily income, Imelda was able to send her children to school. This has inspired many of the micro entrepreneurs in the audience. Imelda’s success story is just one of the many proofs that we Filipinos are not destined for poverty. With perseverance and passion, we all can succeed in life.
After the program, we were glad to have a dinner with the President and some entrepreneurs. Despite his busy schedule, the President seemed to enjoyed the company of the group while chatting, signing autographs and taking photos with us. It was a casual gathering like a family dinner.
There, I was able to meet the 12-year old daughter of Kuya Rody, Kitty Duterte who looked like she is hinting her father to go home. I was told that the President’s common-law wife, Honeylet, was patiently waiting outside the room. From there, I was able to see a different side of the President. It showed how simple and low profile the President and his family are. From his rough personality reflected by media, he is after all a loving father to his children. He is a simple man who wants nothing but the best for his children and for the country.
From Mayor Digong, to President Duterte, to Kuya Rody, we pledge our full support in helping him solve poverty through entrepreneurship. To which the President quipped, “Angat Lahat!”
Aside from Go Negosyo, I, as ASEAN Business Advisory Council chair, will also be leading the efforts in launching the chairmanship of the Philippines for the ASEAN Business Summit next year. President Duterte is the chair of the ASEAN, government side. It will be a special celebration as it marks the 50th; anniversary of the organization.
The theme for the ASEAN Business is “Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All.” I want the Filipino people to know that ASEAN is here not to make a few countries prosper. Instead, it will be an inclusive growth for all. Through ASEAN integration, we will achieve prosperity for all.