BULACAN, Philippines – Despite the Philippines’ booming economy, growth remains concentrated to the privileged few, Senator Bam Aquino said on Thursday, October 2, during Gawad Kalinga’s (GK) 2nd Social Business Summit.
“We all need to cross over when it comes to development in the Philippines,” he added, emphasizing a “walang iwanan” economy (no-man-left-behind economy) that bridges businesses and communities to each other. (READ: Social Business Summit: Building sustainable communities)
Aquino noted that the country had its “best in terms of economy” in the last 5 years, but poverty incidence did not decrease during the same period.
“Working with businesses is not enough. Working in communities is also not enough. We need to bridge,” he added. Aquino said the disconnect can be bridged by social entrepreneurship.
Last July, President Benigno Aquino III approved Republic Act 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act which encourages the creation of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which will facilitate local job creation, production, and trade in the country.
“The idea for the Go Negosyo law is to create infrastructure [that will] make journey of entrepreneurs easy,” the senator explained.
He added: “If they need market linkage, we can help send their products. In that way we are able to connect. By being able to connect them we’re able to bring forth development.”
Support for social enterprises
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) considers the Go Negosyo Act as a key policy reform, Trade Undersecretary Zeny Maglaya said on Thursday.
Other than the law, Maglaya said other initiatives of the department include the provision of shared service facilities, seminars, and microfinancing programs for MSMEs.
“We want to be able to show that our MSMEs can be marketed, supported, and connected to bigger markets,” she added.
She said DTI is also encouraged that the country has many entrepreneurs who have the heart to do good.
Aquino agreed: “When we say ‘walang iwanan,’ it’s not only about contracts to sell. You also push for oneness of heart. It passes from being a feeling to being an imperative. We move forward in a way where no one is left behind.”
GK Founder Tony Meloto said with government support for social entrepreneurs, the Philippines is creating a world where no one is left behind – especially the poor.
“We will unlearn all the mindsets that made us slaves to poverty,” he added. – Rappler.com
Follow Rappler’s live blog of Gawad Kalinga’s Social Business Summit here.