Welcome Remarks: Techtonic Summit 2018

June 22, 2018

Welcome Remarks of Senator Loren Legarda

Techtonic Summit 2018

“Disrupting Southeast Asia”

June 22, 2018 | SMX Convention Center


It is my distinct honor to welcome all of you here in Techtonic Summit 2018; and my sincerest congratulations to QBO Innovation Hub, its president, Butch Meily, for organizing such an important event.

It gives me pleasure that we continue organizing events for our startup businesses and entrepreneurs, such as this one, as well as the National Arts and Crafts Fair held last week as a joint effort of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Department of Trade and Industry and supported by my Office, because they really provide the platform and attention that our Filipino products and services truly deserve.

When I principally authored and sponsored the Magna Carta for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which was enacted into law in 2008, the vision was simple: I wanted to see our world-class products and services be given wider attention and broader access to local and international markets.

I wanted to break the notion that Filipino products are second only to their imported counterparts. I would like for our society to acknowledge the value of our products and services beyond its novelty—to attest that Filipino skills and talents are at par with, if not even better than, the international levels of standard and quality.

And this advocacy has been a priority because MSMEs comprise the majority of our business enterprises and employ the most in our workforce. Your role is crucial in generating jobs and bolstering economic growth for our country.

According to the DTI, in 2016, MSMEs accounted for 99.57% of the total business enterprises operating in the Philippines and created a total of 4,879,179 jobs or 63.3% of the total jobs generated by all types of business establishments.[1]

I continue to recognize this immense potential of our MSMEs in empowering the lives of Filipino workers and in transforming our nation towards a resilient, productive, and sustainable Philippines.

This is why, as your Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, I have ensured funding support to expand and enhance the capabilities and competency of our MSMEs by allocating one billion pesos each for the Pondo Para sa Pagbabago and for the Shared Services Facilities (SSF) programs under the budget of DTI.

Aside from DTI, other government agencies which have programs that benefit MSMEs are:

  • DOLE under their Pangkabuhayan Program;
  • DSWD under their Sustainable Livelihood Program;
  • TESDA under their Barangay Kabuhayan Skills Training Program, the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), the Skills Training Employment Program (STEP);
  • DAR which can provide support facilities;
  • DENR under National Greening Program;
  • DOST under the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SET UP), Start-Up Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (START UP), and, Community Empowerment Through Science and Technology (CEST).

Other agencies that provide specific technical assistance include:  the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), the Design Center of the Philippine, and the Center for International Trade and Exposition Mission (CITEM).

And with the help of all of you who are here today, we can certainly do more to support our MSMEs and further unlock their potential.

I have earlier suggested to DTI to conduct a massive information dissemination drive in order to keep MSMEs informed of various government programs that can assist their businesses, as well as help them with the processes and requirements to avail and access these programs.

Beyond easing up bureaucracy and paperwork, the government must also advance their proficiency as local entrepreneurs through skills training, knowledge exchange, and other capacity building activities.

But in order for the government to provide adequate support, our MSMEs must also tell us their needs and limitations as local entrepreneurs. With their input, the government would be more informed and able to develop appropriate and sufficient interventions that can help overcome the hurdles of their growth as a business.

To the investors and corporate officials, thank you for the time and the opportunity for these startups and innovators to pitch their business and share their vision with you.

You know this better: In the business world (or life in general), every action or decision has its risks. But remember that all large corporations and businesses did not reach their status without taking those risks.

We have startups and entrepreneurs here today who are raring for you to hear them out and hoping for that one “break” to develop further their businesses. And with your trust, confidence, and more importantly, your investment, I am certain that they can reach their full potential.

To the startups and entrepreneurs who are here today: Continue believing in your product or service because, in the beginning, no one else will. All large corporations and businesses started just like you—a startup—who spent tremendous time and effort hoping to convince hundreds of potential investors.

In your endeavors, remain determined. Let your passion continue to inspire you to achieve your goals. Reach for greater heights, but as you aim high, please also find it in you to help in building our nation.

You are innovators in your own regard, and as such, I expect that you contribute in providing solutions to the many problems our country faces each day.

As the theme of our Summit goes, “Disrupting Southeast Asia,” revolutionize how we approach and find solutions to our problems. With your Filipino skill and talent, I know that you can help innovate and pioneer solutions to our country’s pressing needs and concerns.

Rest assured that I will continue supporting and empowering Filipino innovators, businesses, and startups, so in the future, we don’t have to rely on other countries’ technological advancements and innovations anymore.

Let us show ourselves and to the world what the Filipino is truly capable of.

Thank you very much.

[1] Department of Trade and Industry. https://www.dti.gov.ph/businesses/msmes/msme-resources/msme-statistics