Press Release
July 17, 2015

Bam Renews Call for Support of Businesses that Help the Poor

Senator Bam Aquino has renewed his call to the government to support and strengthen the social enterprise (SE) sector as they help spur the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, generate fresh jobs and livelihoods for many Filipinos.

"Social enterprises play a crucial role as they serve as catalyst in the growth of MSMEs, which we consider as backbone of our country's economy," said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

A social enterprise is a social mission-driven organization that conducts economic activities of providing goods and services that would improve the well-being of the poor and marginalized sectors.

"Strengthening social enterprises will help reduce poverty incidence in the country as they help provide jobs and livelihood, especially to those living in poor communities," added Sen. Bam, a world-renowned social entrepreneur.

To further emphasize the importance of social enterprises, Sen. Bam cited a recent Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) underscoring the importance of SEs in the growth of SMEs. According to PIDS, SEs are small- and medium-sized commercial businesses that provide valuable social service to customers and sustainable jobs and training for up to about 200 people.

The report said PIDS can help support SEs by linking them to global value chains, providing the necessary global public goods that can help address poverty directly.

In support of SEs in the country, Sen. Bam has filed Senate Bill No. 1046 or Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Act of 2014.

Under the bill, the existing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council, which is attached to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), shall be strengthened and expanded to become the Enterprise Development Council or EDC to effectively spur the growth and development not only of the MSMEs, but of Social Enterprises as well.

"The EDC shall establish policies, plans and programs that will promote social enterprise initiatives, and identify sources of financing for the social enterprise sector for enterprise incubation, start-up and expansion," Sen. Bam said.

The bill establishes the Center for Social Enterprise Development where its primary responsibility is to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate a comprehensive Social Enterprise Development program.

The bill has hurdled the committee level and will move on to plenary deliberations in the Senate. "Kapag naisabatas, malaki ang maitutulong ng panukalang ito upang mabigyan ng karampatang suporta ang social enterprises sa ating bansa. Sa paraang ito, mas marami pa silang matutulungan na mahihirap nating kababayan," said Sen. Bam.

The program will provide capacity building and sustainability training programs, research and development for poverty reduction through SE development and information and assistance for the market expansion of SEs in both domestic and foreign markets.

"Kailangan nating suportahan ang mga makabagong ideya tulad ng social entrepreneurship sa pagtugon sa kahirapan sa ating bansa. Siguraduhin natin na ang natatamasang kaunlaran ng bansa ay maramdaman ng bawat Pilipino," added Sen. Bam, co-founder of two-award winning social enterprises, the Rags2Riches and Hapinoy program.

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