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Message of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda Antique Provincial MSME Year-end Assessment (December 11, 2020)

December 22, 2020

Message of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda Antique Provincial MSME Year-end Assessment (December 11, 2020)

 

It is my privilege and pleasure to be part of this event. 

As we pursue the pathway that will bring the Philippine economy to greater heights, we cannot deny the fact that the role of MSMEs in our society has continuously evolved along with the progress we achieved. 

I believe that if we continue to capacitate our MSMEs as part of the overall strategy on economic development, providing them opportunities for support and growth, and ensuring that their special needs are addressed, we will not only attain gender empowerment but also contribute to poverty alleviation and economic growth.

As principal sponsor and author of RA 9501, also known as the Magna Carta for MSMEs, and co-author of RA 10644, also known as the Go Negosyo Act, I strongly believe in the need to support rural livelihood development and MSMEs.

Due to this ardent belief, I have since supported MSMEs, which represent the majority of our enterprises. MSMEs are more susceptible to changes in our economy; to greater competition given that they have limited access to finance and technologies, as well as markets. They have limited capacities for compliance with standards and certification. Unless we provide the necessary support and interventions, these enterprises are likely to lose out in deeper competition. What more if we incorporate the “gender” factor?

The Magna Carta for MSMEs requires lending institutions to set aside at least 8% of their loan portfolio for micro and small enterprises. It allows the Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation to set up a Micro Finance Trust Fund to provide collateral-free fixed and working capital loans to micro and small enterprises.

Another law is the Barangay Livelihood and Skills Act, which mandates the establishment of livelihood and skills training centers in 4th, 5th, and 6th class municipalities for employment generation. It ensures that all livelihood and skills training centers offered by the national government are properly coordinated and implemented at the municipal level.

We also have the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act. It requires banks to allocate 25% of their loanable funds to the agriculture sector to finance the acquisition of work animals, farm equipment or machinery, seeds, fertilizers, livestock, feeds, or other similar items for farm production.

I am also the principal author of RA 11923, the Philippine Innovation Act, which was enacted in 2019. The law aims to promote a culture of strategic planning and innovation to encourage creative thinking and knowledge creation and dissemination towards expanding and maintaining economic competitiveness; and improve innovation governance in the country and compel the adoption of a long-term vision and focused priorities for innovation, among others. It also mandates the creation of the National Innovation Council (NIC), which will establish a roadmap for innovation. 

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 the government programs that provide livelihood, such as the Shared Service Facility, under the Department of Trade and Industry, funding for the conduct of trade fairs, which facilitates market access for our MSMEs; funding under the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to provide assistance to cooperatives, such as threads and looms. I even provided funds for the establishment of weaving centers nationwide, so as to ensure that our artisans, weavers have a sacred space where they weave their products. I have made sure that my province of Antique would also benefit from these programs. 

To develop also the pottery and the brickmaking industry in our province, I have also provided support for the establishment of a brickmaking facility, which we are set to officially and virtually launch next week, December 17, as well as the development of a bamboo facility. Both projects are being done in partnership with the University of Antique. 

Over the years I have provided support for programs that will help farmers, weavers and local textile manufacturers through additional funding in the national budget-such as the development of silk at the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in Bacnotan, La Union; establishment of weaving and processing centers through PhilFIDA; provision of technical assistance for the textile industry, the establishment of natural dye centers, and the conduct of natural dye and weaving seminars and workshops; production support services including cotton development and establishment of cotton processing center, among many others.

It is encouraged that we work together to create new projects that create windows of opportunity that are vital in the growth of MSMEs, women and all sectors in our country

I would like to emphasize the need to promote equality and most importantly, equity. It is giving each and every one the same opportunity, and giving those that have the least to thrive.