SENATOR-ELECT Lorna Regina “Loren” B. Legarda wants to expand the delivery of support programs for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to remote areas and communities that create indigenous products.
“I have witnessed the untapped possibilities of millions of Filipinos: weavers, entrepreneurs, indigenous communities, and cultural creatives. There is so much potential for growth in our rural areas,” Ms. Legarda said during a Policy Research Office’s webinar on Thursday.
“Seeing that MSMEs are the lifeblood of our local economy, we need to broaden its reach: extend its benefits to the countryside, and spur economic activity in other sectors, especially those sectors that can preserve culture and the environment,” she said
She cited that 99.5% of all businesses in the country are MSMEs. According to data from the Department of Trade and Industry, 21% of these businesses are located in the capital region.
The top five industries in the country are wholesale and retail trade, food service, automotive parts, manufacturing, service industries and insurance, which account for about 83.8% of the total number of MSME establishments.
“We need to expand our reach to include local entrepreneurs and indigenous communities, and ensure that everyone benefits from government programs such as the MSME Law,” she said.
Local authorities should also delve deeper on the needs of local entrepreneurs and indigenous communities so that the right kind of assistance can be provided, she added.
“Let us continue to expand the scope of our assistance, especially those in areas with high poverty incidence,” she said. “Our laws and regulations should make access easier and not more tedious or burdensome for them.”
Ms. Legarda also called for the promotion of more “green skills” and enterprises.
“I would like to encourage our people to engage in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, environmental information technology, creative industries and other careers that contribute to environmental preservation,” she said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan