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When President Rodrigo Duterte was appointed as the 16th president of our country, many countrymen hoped for change that would make our country great again. It is an understatement to say that 2016 has been eventful because of the new administration. I myself, was amazed by the fast developments we have achieved so far.
Aside from its strong commitment to end drug-related activities nationwide, President Duterte made actions in removing corruption in the government and building closer ties with different countries. With this, the President received a high satisfaction rate from many Filipinos.
My office as the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship has been widely cooperating with the President’s socio-economic development plans. It was August 2016 when we, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry led by Secretary Ramon Lopez, launched the nationwide mentoring program called Kapatid MENTOR ME that aims to help micro and small entrepreneurs scale up through weekly coaching and mentoring with entrepreneur-mentors and business experts held in the different Negosyo Centers. We have reached all 16 regions and have certified more than 400 mentors who dedicatedly teach and guide our MSMEs. For the fourth quarter of 2016 alone, more than 200 MSMEs have graduated from this 10-week module. We are continuously reaching more MSMEs in cities and provinces.
We are inspired to know that we have helped many micro-entrepreneurs. Some of them, after having graduated from the Mentor ME program, have become mentors themselves. While managing their business, they are also helping their fellow entrepreneurs through mentorship.
We have recently partnered with Secretary Manny Piñol and the Department of Agriculture to bring mentorship in the agriculture sector. In fact, yesterday was the first launch of the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME program in Tacloban. There were many agri-entrepreneurs and farmers who attended the first roll-out.
Through the partnership with DTI and DA, we are providing financial assistance and mentoring to our MSMEs.
It so happened that we are hosting the ASEAN’s 50th year and I was appointed as the chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, the private sector counterpart of ASEAN which President Duterte chairs.
The ASEAN BAC supports the government’s theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World” by applying the same principles. We have come up with the theme, “Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All” because we believe that prosperity for all is not just for the upper or the well-privileged classes. Prosperity for all is engaging all ASEAN members from micro level to macro.
Last April 28, we organized the ASEAN Prosperity for All, the first summit focused on MSMEs in trade, services and agriculture. Malaysia and Thailand’s Prime Ministers attended the one-day summit which highlighted the MSMEs in the ASEAN platform. Economic ministers of Myanmar and Cambodia were also there to provide statements of support for the MSME development.
Additionally, in order to bring mentorship to a bigger scale, ASEAN BAC also prioritized mentoring as the key agenda for this year. The ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) will be the largest pool of mentors across the region which will assist and develop teaching modules for MSME development.
Proving that the private sector is one with the government, we also convened a national initiative through the Alliance Towards Prosperity for All, an alliance of Philippine business organizations and chambers which will closely work with the government not just for MSME development but also for poverty alleviation. Adopting the ‘big brother’ concept, the Alliance will help strengthen the public-private partnership for our fellow entrepreneurs.
We are also proud to share that in our first year we have made contributions to worthy humanitarian efforts. Last December 2016, with President Duterte as the guest of honor, we launched the Negosyo Para Kapayapaan sa Sulu which aims to bring peace and socio-economic developments to the province with the help of the big brother companies who supported and funded livelihood programs, housing projects and other infrastructure. We recently turned over the first Kapatid Village located in Jolo, Sulu. 15 families were given new homes, hoping that they will continue to look for ways to better their lives.
When the Marawi war broke out, we cannot just watch the news for updates. We immediately asked the help of our Kapatids to extend support and assistance to the displaced Maranaos. We were sending boxes of clothes, food and water, mats and blankets, and medicines. We also extended the support to our brave men in uniform deployed in Marawi who sacrificed their lives to protect our people. Our troops received care packages which contain their everyday needs and letters of encouragement.
Next week, we are handing out financial assistance to the bereaved families of the fallen heroes. We cannot do this without the support and camaraderie of the whole Go Negosyo Kapatid private sector community. We are one with the government in bringing prosperity for all Filipinos.
There are more things to do. We are just in our first year working with the Duterte administration. We are glad to collaborate more on development programs that will bring better lives to our countrymen.