Message of Deputy Speaker Legarda during Antique MSME Week

August 2, 2021

I would like to greet my kasimanwa as the province celebrates the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Week.


MSMEs represent the majority of our enterprises and comprise the largest bulk of our workforce in the country. In 2008, I sponsored and pushed for the enactment of Republic Act 9501, or the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Act, to harness opportunities for employment and livelihood development in the communities.


As the principal sponsor and co-author of this law, we recognize that MSMEs play a vital role not only in generating additional employment and bolstering economic growth, but also in promoting viable rural livelihoods, cultural preservation, socio-economic empowerment of indigenous peoples and other vulnerable members of our population, and environmental protection. I believe that the pursuit for progress and development should be beefed up with the end goal that everyone in the society, down to the grassroots level, will all benefit from such gains.


When I was the Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, I increased funding support to expand and enhance the capabilities and competencies of MSMEs. I provided funding for government programs that provide livelihood, such as the DOLE Pangkabuhayan, DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program, DTI Shared Services Facility, DOST Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology; funding for the conduct of trade fairs and exhibitions which facilitates market access for our MSMEs; funding under the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to provide assistance to artisans, among others. I even provided funds for the establishment of weaving centers nationwide, so as to ensure that our artisans and weavers have a sacred space where they can weave their products. I have made sure that my province of Antique would also benefit from these programs because the Province is blessed with so much natural resources from the mountains and the seas, yet for many years, our potential for growth has not been realized. Thus, I envision for Antique to be a progressive and united Province that empowers the vulnerable, and continuously pushes for progress and development that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.  I am very happy to know that in the past couple of years that I have served the province, our kasimanwa have finally benefited from these government projects.


Natutuwa po ako sa tuwing makakareceive ng text, o report, o makakakita ng mga Facebook posts tungkol sa mga livelihood projects katulad ng Callan Bakeshop sa Sebaste, shoe repair shop ni Emeterio Panes, community stores sa Igcagay, Libertad,  ang coffee production sa Sibalom, at marami pang iba.  Ang mga litrato at messages ninyo ay syang magpapatunay kung gaano katagumpay ang MSME Law na aking isinabatas maraming taon na ang nakakaraan.  Rest assured that I will continue to bring more help and more projects to our beloved province in the years to come.


We have to ensure that we enhance the competitive advantage we have based on the Filipino people’s skills, talent and ingenuity that are seen in the crafts they produce and services they offer. With more support, we can capacitate our MSMEs to empower our workforce and strengthen employment creation, facilitation and enhancement in the province and the country.


Let us not stop at the livelihood projects that we have now.  Let us enhance these further, increase our activities and production.  Let us continue to expand the scope of our assistance, especially those in areas with high poverty incidence. The government, especially those in senior management, should learn and always open their minds to new systems of thinking and challenge themselves to help our local enterprises to develop and to fully flourish. Together let us recover and rebuild lives of our people by consistently looking for opportunities for sustainable, equitable and inclusive progress.

Thank you very much and keep safe!