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I have always been grateful to reach the public in this manner and for those who have been following my columns for the past 10 years, I have always shared what I think and feel openly, and I hope this will inspire or enlighten some of you.
We are now in Europe, a total of 52 in the group composed of my brothers and sisters, children, and some of our grandchildren. We are celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday. For seven days, all of us have to bond with each other in one cruise ship. Our father is 84 years old and his memory fails him at times. He would sometimes ask me who my wife is, and at other times, he would ask my wife who am I. In a video dedicated to my mom’s life for the past 80 years, my father took us by surprise on his reaffirmation of love for my mother.
Since I was a teenager, it has somehow become a normal routine to visit churches wherever our family travels. It has become a tradition to make three wishes in every church that we visit for the first time. My parents would always remind us about our wishes and I have seen many of them come true. My wife is one of the wishes that came true. I asked for her many years ago and she has been by my side for 33 years now. This trip which ended just the other day has brought us to many churches in small towns that I have never been to before.
One of my wishes, and I don’t mind sharing this with you our loyal Go Negosyo readers, is how Go Negosyo can play a bigger role in this new administration in helping the millions of micro and small entrepreneurs in the country. As a foundation for the past 11 years, we have been doing our part in community development through entrepreneurship. What we need now is on how to level up the support needed.
President Duterte reaffirmed that it was just the big businesses that benefit the most. But millions of micro and small entrepreneurs are somehow not experiencing this booming economy for many reasons.
About two weeks ago, I unexpectedly received a call in my other phone. This phone is usually turned off during my travels abroad but on that day, I turned it on and the phone rang. It was a call from Duterte’s group asking if I would like to be part of his team. In that moment, I felt honored of being asked and being offered to play a bigger task. But I knew then that being in the business would be a conflict to the position that was being offered. Honestly speaking, in my mind, I am turning down an answered prayer and the chance to take things like Go Negosyo to the next level. I however offered to help in the area of MSME development in whatever capacity which has no conflict. This way, Go Negosyo and I can work with the enablers in the government for entrepreneurship development.
I recommended Ramon Lopez instead, executive director of Go Negosyo, who I felt was ready and a better candidate given his experience in business operations, economic development policy-making and passion to help the micro, small and medium enterprises. He would also have no conflict of interest. He has been with me in Go Negosyo for the past 11 years and understands and shares the same vision of making this country an enterprising nation by helping marginalized entrepreneurs to level up. He has also gained the support of many entrepreneurs and organizations that have been part of the advocacy since the beginning. I am proud to say that I have known Mon for many years and I know that he has the competency, experience, energy and integrity to play a bigger role now in helping small entrepreneurs reach their dreams and the overall process of combatting and finally winning over poverty in this country.
And with Sen. Bam Aquino, who has passed so many laws in helping entrepreneurs, Mon will make sure that these will all be implemented. Bam’s Go Negosyo Law, the first law he passed as a senator, will be establishing hundreds of Negosyo Centers across the Philippines that will be manned and operated by the right people with the right programs. This will then provide the needed technical support and knowledge to all micro and small entrepreneurs.
For now, our entrepreneurs will have an ally in the Department of Trade and Industry as Mon assumes his role as the secretary. Yes, my wish is granted now that Mon is leading the department that will closely help micro entrepreneurs. In the end, we all want to see small entrepreneurs become like the next taipan. With the help and support of enablers, government agencies, and organizations other than Go Negosyo, it is not impossible to see them all level up. This will muster public-private partnership which will then consolidate the strengths of all groups to help MSMEs.
But that is not the end of my wish for entrepreneurs, I know that this is just part of the process in seeing a bright future for many Filipinos. This is just the beginning. It’s now the time for MSMEs to shine bright in this country!