AMEN; PROSPERITY FOR ALL | Duterte promises to pour “billions” into MSMEs next year

November 12, 2017 - 6:43 PM
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President Duterte at the launch of AMEN program at the ABIS Summit. Photographed by Bernard Testa, News5 | InterAksyon

President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to pour billions of government funds into micro, small, and medium enterprises next year, after collecting “billions of taxes” that had gone unpaid for the past years.

“Siguro 50 billion each, okay na (Maybe 50 billion each, would that be okay)?” he said at the first day of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City on Sunday.

“I will review the budget with Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.”

He noted that the basic unit of the economy has always been propelled by MSMEs.

Even as one who is, by self-admission, “poor” at economics – having failed the subject twice in school – the President said, “I have enough understanding of what is really practical for us all.”

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President Duterte speaking at the ABIS Summit.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, as of 2015 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, “there are 900,914 establishments in the Philippines.”

Of these, said the DTI, “99.5 percent (896,839) are micro, small, and medium enterprises, and the remaining 0.5 percent (4,075) are large enterprises.”

Duterte said he is not interested in war, which will only be a repeat of the battle between government forces and terrorists, which raged from May to October. Rather, he wants to rebuild Marawi City.

Thus, he appealed to “revolutionaries” to “simmer down”.

“Nobody won that war,” he said.

This is why he wants most of the budget to be crafted next year to go to livelihood and to MSMEs.

“The small guy down there” contributes much to the Philippine economy. This is why the President said he will fulfill his promise to make the life of the Filipino a comfortable one.

Duterte oversaw the launch of the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.

ASEAN Business Advisory Council chairperson Joey Concepcion explained that AMEN will connect MSMEs to mentors from all over Southeast Asia so that their business can become sustainable.

He added that AMEN is “the first and the largest mentorship organization to be formed at the ASEAN level,” with the ten member-countries committing to participate by allowing their mentors to be part of the program.

Duterte said he hopes AMEN will “become a catalyst for inclusive prosperity that can be shared by all.”