‘HB 1 lives up to Marcos’ promise to help MSMEs’




The Manila Times



FORMER Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Ma. “Joey” Concepcion 3rd on Monday lauded efforts by neophyte Ilocos Norte First District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos to craft proposed laws meant to support local entrepreneurs. Concepcion said that House Bill (HB) 1, also known as the proposed “Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery or Guide Act,” lives up to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s pledge to support the small and medium enterprises. The bill, authored by the younger Marcos along with Leyte First District Rep. Martin Romualdez, Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez and Rep. Jude Acidre, aims to mandate the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to expand their loan programs for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “The President pledged his support for the MSMEs, and I am glad that the first act of his son in Congress is to support a bill that does exactly that,” the Go Negosyo founder said. Marcos Jr. and Concepcion met last June 15 to discuss pressing issues affecting the MSMEs. Both agreed that MSMEs will be crucial in the country’s path to prosperity, as these comprise 99.5 percent of all business establishments in the Philippines and generate 62.6 percent of jobs for Filipinos. HB 1 joins another recently filed bill that supports microentrepreneurs through livelihood programs. Sen. Loren Legarda’s Senate Bill 8, or the Pangkabuhayan Bill, seeks to institutionalize the livelihood programs of different government agencies for MSMEs under one umbrella program in view of pandemic recovery. “All together, when we enable and empower our small entrepreneurs, our economic recovery will be realized much sooner,” he noted. “Our MSMEs need access to money, market and mentorship opportunities,” he added. The former adviser likewise outlined the three elements that underpin the programs of the nonprofit Go Negosyo, underscoring that the “money element” will be addressed by HB 1, and will be especially crucial as the RussiaUkraine crisis and rising inflation continue to exert pressure on the country’s entrepreneurs. HB 1 strengthens the capacity of the LBP and the DBP to provide assistance to MSMEs as it allocates P7.5 billion to the LBP and P2.5 billion to the DBP for lending to MSMEs. Under HB 1, the DBP will provide loans for Covid-affected MSMEs “engaged in infrastructure, service industry, and/or manufacturing business.” LBP will lend to Covid-hit MSMEs “in the agribusiness value chain.” The measure also allows both institutions to extend loans to local government units.