Legarda Urges DTI to Prioritize Micro Enterprises in Poorest Areas in the Country

September 24, 2016

Recognizing the vital role of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in economic growth and poverty alleviation, Senator Loren Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to reach out to the poorest sectors, especially those in regions with high poverty incidence, by providing them access to livelihood opportunities.

During the hearing for the proposed 2017 budget of the DTI, Legarda said that since the Department aims to target those at the “bottom of the pyramid”, it should ensure that the poorest provinces are given priority in the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Project.

A major component of the MSME Development Program of the DTI is the SSF Project, which aims to improve the competitiveness of MSMEs by providing them with machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills and knowledge under a shared system.

Legarda has proposed amendments to the 2017 National Budget for SSF Capital Outlay in order to help MSMEs in the poorest regions. The Office of the Secretary has been tasked to come up with the required amount, based on the needs of the 20 poorest provinces in the Philippines.

“I want you to look deeper into the situation and find ways on how we can reach the bottom of the pyramid—those who are not capable of joining trade fairs and those who have skills and indigenous resources but are unable to register or acquire the usual permits—so we can open up more opportunities for them,” Legarda said.

To empower the country’s poorest, she encouraged DTI to mandate all its regional offices to take a more proactive approach in extending support to the marginalized through the conduct of entrepreneurship and livelihood training aimed at enhancing the value of each town’s products and the competitiveness of rural enterprise.

“We have to help those who have greater needs, those who will never be employed in mega businesses but could still have a fighting chance for profitable means of livelihood,” she said.

“The vigilance of the DTI in assisting and training more micro-entrepreneurs with product development, product quality, good management, labeling and marketing through their personnel assigned in the provinces will be an invaluable economic growth boost,” Legarda concluded.