MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Sunday vowed to prioritize the recovery of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) from the pandemic slump and he will use as model the highly-successful “Sugbo Negosyo” of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
“Gov. Gwen’s Sugbo Negosyo is a brilliant and doable idea which is similar to what I plan to do when I become president. I would encourage the LGUs (local government units) to help business particularly MSMEs recover and sustain jobs and livelihood,” said Moreno.
“In these times where the whole world is suffering from the economic ravages of the pandemic, we have to look to ourselves and seek creative ways like Gov. Gwen’s Sugbo Negosyo, to survive and recover. Kailangang magtulungan ang lahat at magkaroon ng gobyerno, lokal at nasyonal, na masasandalan ang tao,” Moreno explained.
The first round of the Sugbo Negosyo launched in August 2020 benefited over 8,000 entrepreneurs in the whole of Cebu province
Early this year the Cebu provincial government allotted another P100-million budget for the second round of the Sugbo Negosyo, a program that gives the much-needed capital to small entrepreneurs in the province.
The program had an additional 13 partner-merchants in this year’s rollout of the micro-business assistance program. The new merchants are joining the program on top of the existing 34 that have supported its first rollout last year.
“What Gov. Gwen did in Cebu can be a model to other LGUs especially in those provinces wherein the tourism industry is a major source of livelihood. Buhay at Kabuhayan. Yan po ang aking pinagtuunan ng pansin sa Maynila. Yan din po ang aking prayoridad sa bansa kapag palarin tayo,” said Moreno, standard bearer of Aksyon Demokratiko.
Moreno pointed out LGUs could use the additional IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment) they would from the Mandanas ruling like what he did in Manila through creative financial engineering.
“Sa Maynila, isinalya ko yung 10 years na additional kita sa Mandanas ruling para sa build, build, build: build more housing, more hospitals, more modern public schools and many others that provided more jobs during the pandemic. Umikot ang komersyo, maraming nagkatrabaho,” explained Moreno.
As part of the Bilis Kilos 10-point agenda of Mayor Isko, “the ease and cost of doing business should be improved” to encourage Filipinos to be entrepreneurial.
MSMEs comprise 99.5 percent of business enterprises in the country. The remaining 0.5 percent of 4,761 are large enterprises which are mostly owned by Filipino taipans and oligarchs.
Of the MSMEs, Micro Enterprises account for the biggest chunk at 89 percent (891,044) followed by Small Enterprises at 10 percent (99,936) and Medium Enterprises at 0.5 percent (41,765). MSMEs employ 63 percent of Filipinos and contribute to 40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
“To help local businessmen, we should increase the loan pool available to performing MSMEs from the current P1.5 billion to P30 billion,” said Moreno.
Moreno noted that SMEs and Tourism have been programs closest to Governor Garcia’s heart especially during the pandemic. As early as August 2020, she slowly but carefully began opening up tourism in the countryside as many people who depended largely on tourism directly or indirectly were starving.
“Tourism has a very high 25 times multiplier effect in creating jobs, and most of the tourism industry workers are young people,” Moreno pointed out.
The tourism industry in Cebu contributed 35 percent or 2.86 million of the 8.6 million foreign tourists who visited the Philippines in 2019. This data is an indication that Cebu is the favorite destination of foreigners and the province can be aptly called the “Tourist Capital of the Philippines.”
“Cebu has contributed much to the GDP but it seems it has been shortchanged in terms of budget allocation for infrastructure such as bridges that will connect the islands of the Visayas. Cebu deserves a better deal and this will be realized when I become president,” Moreno pointed out.
Tourism has contributed 12.7 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) with about 5.4 million Filipinos getting their livelihood from the tourism industry.
Under Moreno’s Bilis Kilos 10-Point Agenda for Governance, the building of tourism highways and development of tourism circuits will be prioritize along with the promotion of sustainable tourism and event-based tourism.
The Bilis Kilos platform of government will also target a three-fold increase in tourism by 2028, from 8 million foreign tourists in 2019 to 24 million after nine years.