In terms of size, the Pacman vs. Margarito fight seemed like a David and Goliath fight. The odds for Pacman were like 80-20. This means that for every 10 pesos you bet on Manny, you get to win two pesos. Experts did project that the fight will go Manny’s way, but I am sure many have doubts somehow due to the disparity in size. But, regardless of the outcome, the fight showed the heart of a true fighter.

Pacman has been an endorser of one of our products, Vitwater, for about two years now. He is definitely the first Filipino athlete who has crossed the one-billion-peso mark. He can even easily double this, with the fight he had just won and more to come. With his humble beginnings in General Santos, which every Filipino knows by heart, Pacquiao truly has a rags to riches story. He is an inspiration to the many Filipinos who are struggling against poverty. His story gives hope to many Filipinos who are barely coping just to survive and win over poverty. Pacman’s journey gives us all HOPE, and make us look forward to a brighter future for us and for our country.

We are starting to see property and stocks in the Philippines increase in value. Inspired by different success stories, and getting empowered in many negosyo seminars, more Filipinos are putting up their own negosyos.

The advocacy of Go Negosyo has been around for five years already. Former President GMA started the economic revolution with infrastructure programs to boost tourism and regional development. We also have a boom in the BPO and call center industry, among other developing industries.

Now, PNoy brings greater clarity in national governance. There is the promise of an improved transparency and a real effort to fight smuggling and improve tax collection. This is what investors have been waiting for, as many of the mature democracies in the western world put these areas at the top of the list.

In the private sector, corporate governance increases, especially as a company becomes a public corporation. With greater transparency, you get funds to buy into your corporation, as they want to see international standards applied in financial reporting. Similarly, the credit rating upgrade of the Philippines to double B proves that the country is getting closer to my prediction that we can and will achieve investment grade, under PNoy’s watch. That means that another B will be added to our rating.

Indonesia, among other ASEAN countries, is rated investment grade. When we achieve a triple B investment grade rating, more fund managers will be coming in to buy our bonds and invest in companies and in our stock market. There are many funds out there that are only allowed to invest in investment grade countries. This will also signal the world that the Philippines is moving forward as a tiger economy in Asia.

While Pacman’s victory is great in boosting Philippine pride, we need to turn this pride into real action that will benefit the economy. We need to help our micro and small businesses. They are what I call the
“farm team” of the Philippines. Medium and large companies all started at this level.

I have been representing Go Negosyo as one of the panel of judges in the deliberation for the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year (MOTY) awards for many years now. Together with other judges like Fernando Zobel, Marixi Prieto, Tessie Sy-Coson, Felipe Gozon, Sanjiv Vohra, Amando Tetangco, among others; we choose the best among the micro entrepreneurs nationwide, whose stories are always inspiring.

Starting a micro or a small business from scratch is very different and difficult. Many are lucky to build a business with resources, especially with the support of parents. Many of the microentrepreneurs are not as fortunate. They risk what they have, knowing that if they fail, they can bury themselves deeper into poverty.

I am glad that many organizations have heeded the call to help the many microentrepreneurs in this country. Go Negosyo is happy to be part of the efforts of many organizations in lighting the negosyo fire. The Association of Filipino Franchisers, Philippine Franchisors Association and PCCI are just few of those organizations. Private corporations such as the BPI Family and now even Ayala launched their respective programs in helping create an entrepreneurial Philippines. Of course we also work hand-in-hand with PLDT SME Nation and Smart, as they empower the SME sectors with relevant technology and tools. We look forward to our future programs and projects together. We are also glad to have DTI as a continuing partner of Go Negosyo, as our programs in teaching the entrepreneurial mindset and basic negosyo marketing and financial concepts complement the programs of the government.

The Citi MOTY search is close to my heart, as I find every story equally inspiring. Congratulations to this year’s finalists: Lutgarda Alejo of Mama Lut’z Delicacies; Zenaida Avellanida with her nipa shingles, duck-raising, variety store and rice farming businesses; Justine Braga with her chemical trading business; Ester Lumbo with her pandan bags and handicrafts business; Mary Jane Reyes with her turmeric tea manufacturing business; Annaliza Candole with her roasted and dressed chicken and restaurant business; Avelina Mata with her rope making business; Elma Gabriel with her onion, corn and rice farming business; Laureano Martinez with his chicharon and kropek business; Nora Bagaforo with her dried fish and bakery business; Lydia Malot with her nata de coco business; Letecia Tabotabo of RCT Janitorial and Allied Services; Herminigildo Dularte with his rice and coconut farming business; Macrina Piliin with her Pineapple farming business; Ismael Adiation with his can recycling business; Enrico Jingco with his integrated sustainable farming business; and Lourdes Acuna with her copra, fruits and vegetables, rubber tree plantation and piggery business. You are all proof of this nation’s resilience, hard work and enterprising nature.

While Filipino athletes and performers continue to help build the glory of our nation, the real Filipino victory is to see many of those below the poverty line become successful. Not all will be fortunate, but we need to give everyone that chance.