Legarda Hopes for APEC PHL 2015 Success in Advancing Inclusive, Sustainable Economies

November 16, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today said she looks forward to a successful 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that would indeed promote inclusive growth and better communities as this year’s theme suggests.

The Philippines is the host for the 2015 APEC meetings that will culminate with the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting this week to be attended by heads of state of member economies. The APEC 2015 theme is “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World.”

“I am hopeful that with inclusive growth as the main theme of APEC Philippines 2015, it will be more relevant to Filipinos. After all, the real value of APEC does not rest on trade and investment statistics alone, but more importantly on how much its benefits trickle down to the poor,” said Legarda.

“How do we build inclusive economies and communities? We have to capacitate our farmers, fisherfolk, rural industries, and other sectors. We must strengthen our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which make up 99% of businesses in the country. We already have the laws in place and we have more than enough reason and motivation to make these matters our priorities in the APEC discussions,” she added.

The Senator has authored and sponsored several Philippine laws relevant to inclusive growth—the Magna Carta for MSMEs (RA 9501), Barangay Kabuhayan Act (RA 9509), Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act (RA 10000), and the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Act, including its amended version (RA 10691).

Legarda has also supported the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Project and SME Roving Academy Program.

The SSF aims to improve the competitiveness of MSMEs by providing them with machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills and knowledge under a shared system; while the SME Roving Academy Program offers a continuous learning program for the development of MSMEs to become competitive in the domestic and international markets.

Likewise, Legarda has been providing support for weaving centers around the country and for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) Schools of Living Traditions (SLTs), where masters of traditional arts and crafts teach their indigenous skills and techniques to pass on to the young and become sources of livelihood for the indigenous communities.

In line with this, she has proposed the creation of culture-based vocational courses by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in partnership with the NCCA.

“Inclusive growth means every community, every individual in the country, including rural folk and indigenous peoples, has an opportunity for progress. We must capacitate our people to be equally competitive in meeting the APEC community’s needs for goods and services,” Legarda said.

She also stressed that in order to foster inclusive growth, development must be sustainable and resilient.

“Growth cannot be inclusive if communities suffer again and again from disasters. Inter-economy cooperation in dealing with disasters must be strengthened. The whole region will benefit if we can support each other through strengthened collaborative research, technology transfer, capacity building and knowledge sharing.”

“As part of sustainable development, the promotion of low-emission energy strategy needs to be enhanced and the Philippines can be a showcase in this area by fully developing its renewable energy resources of which it has abundant supply,” said Legarda.