Thank you, Mr. President

Photo Caption: President Rodrigo Duterte graced the launch of the first Kapatid Mentor Me Program in Davao last October 2016. Also in photo are Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, micro entrepreneur Imelda Basilan, and PA Joey Concepcion.

Last week, I received a special letter from President Duterte. The letter was about my recent conferment of the Padma Shri Award given by the government of India. If you can remember, I was part of President Duterte’s official delegation during his visit in India last January when I was announced as an awardee of the Padma awards. Three months after, I flew back to New Delhi to personally receive the award from President Ram Nath Kovind.

It came as a surprise as I did not expect any recognition during my first visit as part of the Philippine delegation. Then it turned out that I was one of the awardees. More than just receiving the award, I believe that this is a reconfirmation and a testament that we are on the right path of helping our micro and small entrepreneurs. I am proud to share this recognition with all the supporters and advocates of Go Negosyo for the past 13 years.

In his letter, President Duterte said, “You truly deserve this honor. Your work in ensuring the success of micro, small, and medium enterprises over the past two decades has created opportunities, boosted businesses, and uplifted the lives of our people, especially the poor.”

I would like to thank President Duterte for all his support to the private sector initiatives led by Go Negosyo, especially our effort for MSME development and other humanitarian programs. Since my appointment, I have always appreciated the confidence and encouragement President Duterte gave to us and to all our programs that are designed and tirelessly spearheaded to advocate the 3Ms (mentorship, money and market) for MSME development.

These programs include the Kapatid Mentor ME, the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program, Mentor Me on Wheels, and the latest “Pilipinas, Angat Lahat,” all of which have begun to empower MSMEs to grow their businesses and to partner with anchor firms as part of their value chain.

The Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) is just one of the many successful Go Negosyo programs. This is in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry. It aims to scale up MSMEs by modules from the successful entrepreneurs in the Philippines. This Friday, KMME will launch another batch in Antipolo, Rizal which I will  attend.

The Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program (KAMMP), on the other hand, is Go Negosyo’s arm in enabling farmers with the technical and practical know-how on managing a business. It is similar with KMME, the only difference is that this program puts premium on agripreneurship as agriculture plays an important role in our national economy. KAMMP was launched in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and is supported by our private partners in the agriculture sector.

We  also successfully launched Mentor Me on Wheels (MMOW) last May 11 at SM Mall of Asia. It really warms my heart to see so many aspiring entrepreneurs attend our event. I hope they will take the lessons they learned with them and apply them to their own endeavors.

This Saturday, June 2, I will also attend MMOW’s second leg in SM City Calamba – Mall Atrium. Together with Sec. Ramon Lopez, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Feliciano Torres of Yazaki Torres Manufacturing Inc. and other mentors, we will again participate in a free one-on-one mentoring session to help small business owners gain knowledge in entrepreneurial mind-setting and marketing. I hope we will also receive a warm welcome from the people of Laguna when we make our pit stop in their area.

Hopefully soon, we would launch the program Pilipinas Angat Lahat nationwide in partnership with the public sector. I am really grateful President Duterte is one with us in integrating the initiatives of the public and private sectors towards poverty alleviation and job generation.

As I have mentioned before, I have been forming a new alliance with 27 business organizations and chambers in order to enable MSMEs in the digital economy. These partners from various sectors like financial institutions, supermarkets, and ecommerce industry are developing programs to help entrepreneurs adapt to the digital transformation of goods and services.

We have also linked the private sector conglomerates to the economic team of the administration to contribute to the infrastructure development programs, including our international and provincial airports.

I assure the President and the Filipino people that we will continue to create programs to strengthen the entrepreneurship community which will also improve the lives of more Filipinos. We in the private sector will also continue to support the Duterte administration in its goal of inclusive prosperity.