Ate V Goes Go Negosyo in Batangas

As we all predicted, Obama won the USA election because Americans have been severely hurt by this great financial crisis and they are clamoring for a change.

While the world is now suffering as well, the problem stems from the greed of many banks as they have created financial structures that bloated their income on paper. The sad part is how this situation is handled. The same banks that have created this problem are being saved, since not saving them would be more catastrophic.

Obama has swept America and the world as the leader of hope. His victory, as the first black American president, is historical. Other people put meaning in the number 44 (as Obama will be inducted as the 44th President of the US). Those numbers are also interpreted as the number eight (8) when added or as some Chinese believe that double four (4) would be double death… And we hope not.

The biggest asset that Obama brings is hope and change. His “Yes We Can” slogan exemplifies the spirit that American people need today. The huge problem cannot be solved if many Americans would be pessimistic about their future. We talk of faith, and sometimes in a situation like this, you need a leader who brings about greater faith. Who is not to say that America will not suffer from the mistakes of the past? But, an attitude of ‘yes we can succeed’ is what the world needs today.

Closer to home, Go Negosyo spreads the ‘yes the Filipino can’ attitude – a change in mindset into being entrepreneurial, as the key to anyone’s success.

We just had the Go Negosyo Batangas with Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto. Gov Vi is an example of what we want to instill in the Filipinos. Ate V, as many call her, is an award-winning actress who knew nothing before about running a town. Now, with an instinct of an entrepreneur, she leads the development of a progressive province.

Last Friday, Nov. 7, the Go Negosyo Caravan sa Batangas was successfully held in their Provincial Auditorium. About two thousand people from Batangas attended this event. The audience was largely composed of cooperatives, micro to small entreps, and the local government officers and members headed by Gov. Vi and Vice Gov. Mark Leviste.

I traveled to Batangas by helicopter, together with Vicky Belo, Karen Davila and PMS Secretary Cerge Remonde, since we also all had to be back in Manila by 1pm. As we approached Batangas, a heavy downpour of rain forced us to make an emergency landing. My co-passengers thought we have reached our destination. As I noticed, I told them that we landed in a cemetery. Luckily, I was able to get our welcome party to our location and pick us up, after asking a grave digger where we were. As we say, rain-or-shine, advocacy continues.

After our adventure, we started on time and Gov. V arrived as scheduled. During her welcome remarks, I have to admit – she knew the essence of what it truly takes to help micro and small entrepreneurs. She pushes for the success of more cooperatives, many of which started as credit cooperatives that also help the micro and small entreps. She mounts relevant support programs that help the micro and small entreps. We believe in what she adopts as an approach, as she reiterates the importance of government’s partnerships with various private sector groups like Go Negosyo to support the MSME sector. But, the success of this approach relies on the perseverance, resourcefulness and innovativeness of each one.

It was very clear to me that in order to create a negosyo revolution, local government must really champion the cause of Go Negosyo. National government must also give support by providing a framework on the mindset, marketing, the how-to and the technical training, and financing that must be cascaded at all levels of society. The OTOP (One Town One Product) is one specific project that should be championed by the local government. Support must also be handed to the micro and small entreps, through the MFIs and rural banks and by encouraging the formation of cooperatives. Business technology incubators must be enhanced. Schools must also start teaching and bring out a greater awareness in negosyo. There are a lot of entrepreneurs who may not have even finished high school, but have developed a skill that is unique to their province. There are many people out there who can be inspired and empowered.

In most of the provinces we visited, the local governments have supported negosyo. I believe that in the last year of PGMA, she can leave this legacy behind. Despite the financial crisis facing the world, our solution to is to start a negosyo revolution.