The Social Enterprise (“SE”) Bill provides the framework for the planning and implementation of a National Poverty Reduction Through Social Entrepreneurship (the “PRESENT”) Program. The SE Bill, or the PRESENT Bill provides a nurturing environment for the growth and burgeoning of strong and innovative Social Enterprises as tools to reduce poverty.
A “Social Enterprise” as defined in the proposed Bill, refers to an enterprise with the poor as primary stakeholders. This is an enterprise that explicitly declares and pursues poverty reduction, alleviation, or improving the quality of life of speCific segments of the poor as a principal objective. A Social Enterprise engages and invests in the poor for them to become effective workers, suppliers, clients and/or owners, and ensures that a substantive part of the wealth created by the enterprise is distributed to, or benefits them.
In addition to reinvesting its surplus or profits back to the enterprise to sustain the fulfillment of its social mission, a Social Enterprise also uses its surplus or profits and mobilizes other resources to assist the poor in becoming partners in the value chain management/governance as well as to become partners in community, sectoral and societal transformation.
This is in line with Article XII, Section 1 of the Philippine Constitution which states:
Section 1. The goals of the national economy are a more eqUitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all, especially the under-privileged.
The challenge for Social Enterprises is how to become an effective poverty reduction tool. In the face of this challenge, government must play a supportive role to ensure that the appropriate systems, structures, and resources needed to support social enterprises are put in place. Government must help these new breed of entrepreneurs to acquire resources, build successful organizations, and achieve significant positive impact.
A nation’s economy is not stagnant – new social investment models, ways of doing business, and impact measurement tools continually arise. These changes at times distort and blur the once clear boundaries among the traditional nonprofit, for-profit, and public sectors. It is time that a “Social Enterprise” deserves to be officially recognized and defined in order for the government to be able to give it adequate support.
Therefore, the legislature is urged to pass measures wherein the government must make a leap forward and take advantage of this potential for the nation’s social change. Such leap forward is through the PRESENT Bill.