Month: December 2013

Sen. Bam: Go Negosyo Bill to Boost MSMEs, Inclusive Growth

Senator Bam Aquino has urged fellow lawmakers to pass the “Go Negosyo Bill”, which aims to facilitate ease of doing business; enhance support for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); and create more jobs to boost inclusive growth.

During his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 2046, under Committee Report No. 10, which he authored, Sen. Aquino emphasized the need for the passage of the Go Negosyo Bill, stressing that it is one of the “foundational bills” needed to achieve inclusive growth.

“The Go Negosyo Bill is a piece of legislation created to help our countrymen out of poverty and towards a path to prosperity. We humbly ask for our esteemed colleagues’ support and consideration,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

The Go Negosyo Bill is one of the inclusive growth bills that Aquino had filed in the Senate.

The lawmaker pointed out that the Go Negosyo Bill provides the framework for delivering services to our MSMEs, especially for the micro enterprises that comprise 92 percent of all businesses and 66 percent of all jobs in the country’s labor force.

“The numbers show that boosting the MSME sector will help us create more decent, sustainable jobs that can lift many Filipinos out of poverty,” Aquino stressed, adding that MSMEs should be looked as a “pipeline for development.”

“We need programs that will enable micro enterprises to enter the formal economy; our goal should be to help them ‘graduate’ into SMEs so that they grow and generate revenue and jobs for our communities,” he added.

Through the Go Negosyo Bill, Sen. Aquino said MSMEs will be provided infrastructure and support at the city and municipal level “so that local government is able to boost MSME growth and provide jobs and livelihood for their constituents”.

The measure also provides MSMEs access to grants and other forms of financing, shared service facilities and equipment, and other kinds of support.

The bill is also designed to build local support networks and establish market linkages for MSME development, support private sector activities relating to MSME development, and organize programs or projects for entrepreneurial development in the country aligned with the MSME development plan.

Mentoring programs for prospective and current entrepreneurs and investors, as well as services on training, financing, and marketing will be offered and organized. This includes mapping out information and services related to key value chains and economic sub-sectors within an LGU’s jurisdiction.

In order to boost youth entrepreneurship, the Go Negosyo Bill also aims to strengthen coordination with schools and organizations on the development of a youth entrepreneurship training program.

BIR Opposes Sen. Bam’s “People’s Fund Bill”

A proposed “People’s Fund Bill”, authored by Senator Bam Aquino, will give taxpayers the power to choose where to allocate five percent of their income tax.

Sen. Aquino reiterated this during Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, regarding Senate Bill No. 1356 or the “People’s Fund Bill”.

The People’s Fund Bill creates mechanisms for taxpayers to allocate part of their income taxes to an accredited charity or civil society organization, a priority national or local government project, or a legitimate political party.

According to Sen. Aquino, the “People’s Fund Bill” could very well complement the government’s P130-billion rehabilitation plan for provinces devastated by super-typhoon Yolanda.

“Through the People’s Fund Bill, the public can help survivors of Yolanda more quickly get back on their feet,” Aquino said.

The senator stressed that the government needs all the help it can get from different sectors in the aftermath of several calamities that hit the country this year.

During the hearing, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares expressed apprehension over the passage of new tax reform bills.

In his response, Sen. Aquino said, “We disagree with the BIR on this issue. We understand their objective to collect more taxes for the country, but we also need space to support initiatives that will promote the development of our people and increase their participation in governance.”

Henares later on said that the government is ready to implement the “People’s Fund Bill” if it will be enacted into law.

Henares also called for a stringent accreditation process for charity or civil society organization, which stand to benefit from the bill.


Sen. Bam Aquino Pushes for 24-Hour Disaster Response

Senator Bam Aquino pushed for a maximum response time of 24 hours following natural calamities, saying that it “currently takes three to four days for the national government to respond [to disasters].”

He likewise called for a “higher level of preparedness… [from government],” as he spoke at the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, held at the Senate on Monday morning.

“What do we need to increase efficiency and capacity? Regional relief depots? Better search and rescue vehicles and equipment? Pre-positioned military and police? Disaster-proof evacuation centers? Given that climate change is upon us and disasters are sure to hit the country again next year, even our measures for assessing disaster preparedness need to change.”

“The best way to honor our countrymen who had passed away is to make sure that we are more responsive the next time disaster strikes,” Sen. Aquino stressed.

The senator also indicated his support for moves to create a department for disaster relief and rehabilitation, replacing the existing National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

He also emphasized that greater focus needs to be placed on ensuring tighter coordination between the national government and local government units.

“Miscommunication severely hampers our ability to respond quickly to crisis situations. If we work more closely together, we will be better able to respond to the needs on the ground,” Sen. Aquino pointed out.


Sen. Aquino also pushed for greater support for rehabilitation efforts of the private sector, citing that “markets are alive [and] vibrant” even in disaster-stricken towns.

While on a ground assessment in Guiuan in Easter Samar and in Tacloban City, Palo, and Tanauan in Leyte on Sunday, the senator observed that most entrepreneurs have been relying on loan sharks—what is locally known as“five-six”—to finance their rehabilitation efforts.

“Equally important in rebuilding public infrastructure is seeing how we can rehabilitate the private sector. We all know that ‘five-six’ bears excessively high interest rates. We need to explore long-term loans, low-interest loans, microfinance loans to help micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs get back on their feet.”

He cited a positive observation by a representative from the international organization UNICEF, which said that it took the Philippines only “ten to fifteen days to begin rebuilding” after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda, versus the eight weeks that it took markets to open in other countries that were severely hit by natural disasters.

“The Filipino spirit is indeed resilient. As government, we need to honor that spirit by providing more support to our countrymen.”

Sen. Bam Pushes for Urban Poor Protection

In line with “Urban Poor Solidarity Week”, Senator Bam Aquino welcomes members of the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), led by president Celia Santos, to the Senate.  One of Senator Aquino’s bills is Senate Bill No. 1874, which aims to strengthen Republic Act No. 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act, to ensure that the urban poor are protected against unjust evictions and demolitions.

In celebration of the “Urban Poor Solidarity Week”, Senator Bam Aquino renews his call for the passage of his measure that will protect the urban poor against harsh evictions and the unjust demolition of their homes.

Aquino’s Senate Bill No. 1874 aims to strengthen Republic Act No. 7279, or the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA), to ensure the protection of the rights of the urban poor sector under the 1987 Constitution.

“With this measure, the urban poor will be protected against unjust evictions and demolitions,” Sen. Bam emphasized.

The bill calls for the fulfillment of all requirements under Section 28 of RA 7279 before an eviction or demolition can be effected.

“If relocation is needed, housing beneficiaries should be relocated near their former homes, where they have access not only to basic services but also to jobs and livelihood that will give them the means to raise themselves and their families out of poverty,” the senator said.

Aquino believes that the bill will help the Philippine government in its push for inclusive growth.

Aside from this, the bill also provides that consultation must be effectively done with the active participation of affected communities, particularly in the identification and approval of relocation sites.

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