Duterte to pour ‘billions of pesos’ into funding for MSMEs

Pia Ranada
Duterte to pour ‘billions of pesos’ into funding for MSMEs
'Maybe P50 billion each is okay?' the Philippine president asks before an audience of diplomats and businessmen from all over Southeast Asia

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has so much hope in micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines that he vowed on Sunday, November 12, to pour billions of pesos into funding for them.

“Next year, I would like to make some late changes in the GAA (General Appropriations Act), the annual budget. I would like to pour more money [into] this medium, small, and micro enterprise,” he said to loud applause during the launch of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) business mentorship program.

“Maybe P50 billion each is okay?” he asked the audience, many of whom responded with laughter. (READ: Over 140 business leaders to mentor ASEAN’s micro, small entrepreneurs)

Claiming he was being serious, Duterte said: “Really, it’s true. I will review the budget with Secretary Diokno and maybe if I can add more, I’ll ask Congress.”

The Philippine president said he has no qualms about pouring so much money into MSMEs because his economic advisers have convinced him of the importance of these types of businesses to the economy.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion always say that some 95% of the country’s business establishments are MSMEs.

“We realized in the regional meetings that the small guy down there contributes a lot to what is really happening before our rise and it’s improving the economy,” said Duterte.

He’s confident he can come up with the funding since the government was able to collect “billions” in taxes that were not paid by big corporations in previous administrations.

“We collected taxes. Billions of taxes [which] were unpaid for many years…So it’s a good year,” said Duterte.

Last month, tobacco giant Mighty Corporation paid the government a P30-billion settlement, aside from P10 billion in taxes and penalties, for its tax evasion case to be dropped.

In early November, Philippine Airlines paid  P6 billion in unpaid air navigational charges in a settlement with the government. – Rappler.com 

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.