Sen. Bam Aquino to Address Young Changemakers

Senator Bam Aquino, the country’s youngest senator and a globally recognized youth leader and social entrepreneur, will be the opening keynote speaker at the 2013 ENACTUS Philippine National Finals, to be held on July 26, 2013 at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.

ENACTUS, formerly called Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), is an international organization that brings together students as well as academic and business leaders “who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to bring progress around the world.”

Once a year, the National Champion Enactus teams from around world meet at the World Cup, where they present the results of their community outreach projects to a prestigious group of international business leaders. Through a written annual report and live audio-visual presentation, teams will be evaluated based on how successful they were at using business concepts to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.

According to ENACTUS Philippines Chairman, Jose P. Leviste, a total of 65 students representing 12 colleges and universities in the country will be participating in the competition, which will choose the Philippines’ representative to the Enactus World Cup scheduled on September 29 to October 2, 2013 in Cancun, Mexico.

The participating institutions are: Adamson University, Baliuag University, Columban College, Divine World College of Calapan, Holy Trinity College of General Santos City, Lyceum Northwestern University, Mariano Marcos State University, Nueva Vizcaya State University, Pangasinan State University, Sultan Kudarat State University (Isulan and Tacurong), and the University of Antique.

In a message to ENACTUS Philippines, Senator Aquino said, “I have always believed in the youth as the hope of this nation. From my time as a student leader up to my days in government and social enterprise, I have seen young Filipinos use the strength of their idealism and ideas, the power of their on-the-ground and online networks, and their passion and determination to truly make a difference in the world around them. It is, therefore, our responsibility to inculcate in our youth the ideals and virtues that they can carry with them as they steer our nation to greater heights.”

“With this belief, I laud the efforts of Enactus Philippines in shaping and molding our youth to become catalysts of change. Thanks to their programs in entrepreneurship and innovation, Enactus Philippines serves as a platform for our young and vibrant entrepreneurs to make a positive impact in their communities. We have seen in their work their ability to create programs for change and, therefore, be a collective force for economic progress.”

“May you remain as models of social responsibility, hard-work, and self-reliance as you move towards your goals of uplifting the lives of our fellow Filipinos,” the senator adds.

Bam Lauds Agri Investments in Davao del Sur

Senator Bam Aquino lauded the Department of Trade and Industry’s approval of six shared service facilities (SSF) worth P2 million in Davao del Sur, which are meant to boost the production of coco vinegar, kakanin, coco shellcraft, muscovado sugar, as well as cacao beans fermentation and coco coir processing.

“Our farmers and agri-entrepreneurs need a lot of support,” said Sen. Aquino, “and the SSFs can provide that much-needed push for them to boost production, improve their quality, and even create additional income through off-farm activities.”

“We congratulate the DTI for this project, and we hope that more SSFs can be built in more strategic locations throughout the Philippine countryside,” the senator added.

The DTI has a total of P700 million allocated for the SSF program, under which facilities may be shared by beneficiaries such as cooperatives, institutions, and communities. The DTI likewise hopes that more micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will avail themselves of this program.

Aside from the six SSFs in Davao del Sur, three more project proposals “are targeted to be approved before the 2013 ends,” according to the DTI.

According to DTI-DS officer-in-charge Eulogio Orevillo, “It is our hope that [entrepreneurs and agricultural cooperatives] will improve their business especially in terms of profit by increasing their production volume and enhancing product quality. These we can easily achieve with the help of the SSFs.”

“The SSFs are one concrete–and, we hope, effective–way of supporting our farmers and agri-entrepreneurs, but we really need to push for rural development and more investments in the Philippine countryside,” Sen. Aquino pointed out. “Poverty is most severe in the rural areas, and we need more government interventions and PPPs (public-private partnerships) here to generate jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for our people.”

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Mga Pinoy, Nangunguna sa Inobasyon Laban sa Kahirapan — Sen. Bam Aquino

Nasa Berlin, Germany si Senator Bam Aquino upang makipagpulong sa iba’t-ibang mga senior policymakers sa Asya at Europa ukol sa mga inobasyon sa paglaban sa kahirapan.

Ayon kay Aquino, na naparangalan na sa loob at labas ng bansa para sa kanyang programang nagbibigay ng kabuhayan sa mga mahihirap na pamilya at nagpapalago sa mga pinakamaliliit na negosyo, “Isa itong pagkakataon para matuto sa mga gawain at ‘best practices’ ng ibang bansa para malabanan ang kahirapan sa Pilipinas.”

Dagdag ng batang senador, “Isa rin itong magandang pagkakataon para ibahagi ang naging karanasan nating mga Pilipino sa paglaban sa kahirapan, sa pamamagitan ng makabuluhang pagnenegosyo.”

Ayon sa Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), na kasama ng British Council ay isa sa mga organizer ng naturang policy dialogue, layunin ng conference na suportahan ang paglago ng mga negosyong direktang tumutulong sa mga mahihirap at nag-aangat sa antas ng pamumuhay ng masang Pilipino. Layunin rin nitong paigtingin ang pagtutulungan ng mga bansa sa Asya at Europa para tapusin ang kahirapan sa buong mundo.

Dagdag ni Sen. Bam, “Matagal nang nangunguna ang mga Pinoy sa ganitong klase ng pagnenegosyo na tumutulong sa mga mahihirap. Naniniwala tayo na sa pamamagitan ng mga makabuluhang batas at polisiya, mapapalago pa natin ang sektor na ito at maipapakita sa mundo kung paano natin nilalabanan ang kahirapan sa makabagong paraan.”

Photo courtesy of Go Negosyo

“Bayanihan Economy” Key to Achieving Inclusive Growth — Sen. Bam Aquino

Speaking at the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Expo of the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) on July 5, Sen. Bam Aquino talked about how a “bayanihan economy” can help the Philippines achieve inclusive growth.

The term “bayanihan economy”, coined by former NEDA Director Dr. Cielito Habito, speaks of an economy where “all players work together toward a shared goal of uplifting the lives of all.”

According to Aquino, who was pointing to a classic visual depiction of rural folk lifting a nipa hut as a display of bayanihan, “You don’t know anymore if the guys lifting the house are the owners, their neighbors, or are passersby who offered to help. In bayanihan, everyone has a role to play.”

A former social entrepreneur who has won local and international awards for his micro-enterprise program Hapinoy, Aquino identified possible interventions that can help the Philippines move closer toward a “bayanihan economy.” These are:

1. Micro-finance. According to Aquino, there are currently around 4.5 million micro-finance borrowers in the country. “But the current capacity of microfinance institutions can accommodate another six million borrowers, which means that through micro-finance we can have six million more potential micro-entrepreneurs who can lift their families out of poverty.”

2. Social enterprise development. “Social enterprises are the missing middle, connecting large corporations and small communities,” Aquino said. Citing his experience in developing the Hapinoy program, Aquino said that the willingness to help of large companies is there but the capacity to reach the community is sometimes unavailable. He also added, “The role of social enterprise is to make sure that these communities and companies get to talk and work together.”

3. MSME development. Aquino cited the large contribution of micro- and small enterprises (MSMEs) to the Philippine economy, pointing out that 92 percent of all businesses in the Philippines are micro-enterprises that largely belong to the informal sector, while only seven percent belong to the small and medium category. “Sadly, MSME’s don’t get enough support from the government.” One of his priority bills, Aquino said, is to help create a more “enabling environment” for MSMEs “beyond entrepreneurial training.”

“More MSMEs are able to provide more employment than large corporations,” the first-time lawmaker added as another reason for helping boost MSMEs.

4. Youth entrepreneurship. “Youth unemployment is one of the largest problems not only of youth in the Philippines, but also in the entire world,” Aquino pointed out.

“Optimism ng mga Pinoy, Malaking Pagkakataon para sa Gobyerno” — Sen. Bam Aquino

Malugod na tinanggap ni Sen. Bam Aquino ang balitang umangat ang antas ng positibong pananaw (“optimism”) ng karamihan ng mga Pilipino, ayon sa isang survey na ginawa ng Social Weather Station (SWS). Dagdag ng senador, isa itong pagkakataon para sa gobyerno na paigtingin pa ang mga programa nitong lumalaban sa kahirapan.

Ayon kay Sen. Bam, “Magandang balita para sa gobyerno ang mataas na optimism ng mga kababayan natin. Pinapakita nito na ramdam ng taumbayan ang mga programa natin, lalo na para sa mahihirap.”

“Pero hindi tayo puwedeng maging kampante. Kailangan pa nating tutukan ang marami sa ating mga social programs tulad ng pabahay at CCT para maiahon ang pinakamahihirap nating mga kababayan. Bukod dito, kailangang siguruhing may trabaho at hanapbuhay ang mga Pilipino para tuluyan na silang makaangat mula sa kahirapan.”

Ilan sa mga sususugan ni Sen. Bam sa Senado ay ang pagbibigay ng suporta para sa mga pinakamaliliit na negosyo, pagtulak sa youth entrepreneurship para matugunan ang youth unemployment.

“Malaki ang hamon sa ating gobyerno, pero sa pagtutulung-tulong ng gobyerno at ng pribadong sektor, kaya nating labanan ang kahirapan.”

On first two days of the 16th Congress: Sen. Bam Aquino in Zambo del Norte For Consultation on Inclusive Growth Agenda

Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV spent his first two days as senator in Zamboanga del Norte, one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines, as part of a series of stakeholder consultations on his proposed inclusive growth policy agenda.

Part of the lawmaker’s itinerary in Zamboanga del Norte included a meeting with local business groups, where they discussed pressing needs such as power and water supplies, among others; a meeting with Dipolog City LGU; and the 100th Adlaw sa Dipolog celebrations.

According to Aquino, he began his term with local consultations to ensure that legislation he will file will be “people-centered and stakeholder-driven.

“We want to aggressively pursue an inclusive growth policy agenda, to help the national government fulfill its commitment to end poverty. This is why we decided to begin our term by visiting one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. We want to hear out their concerns and see how the LGUs and the national government can work together to solve poverty.”

Aquino ran on a campaign of education, employment and enterprise support in order to promote inclusive growth and end poverty. Prior to being elected into the Senate, Aquino headed a social enterprise that helped boost the incomes of poor women and families through micro-enterprise development.

Legislation will be People Centered — Sen. Bam Aquino

  On the first day of the 16th Congress, Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV reiterates his commitment to draft legislation that is people-centered and stakeholder-driven.

“Pinangako ko sa mga kababayan natin ‘nung kampanya ang paggawa ng mga batas na may consultation sa kanila–at ‘yun ang ginagawa natin,” says Aquino, who is currently in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte on a series of consultations, as well as to celebrate the 100th Adlaw sa Dipolog.

“We want to make sure that the bills we will file have sound policy and the requisite quality. As such, we are finalizing our bills with policy experts, socio-civic groups, and stakeholders.”

The first-time lawmaker, who was an award-winning social entrepreneur and Chairperson of the National Youth Commission prior to being elected into the Senate, commits to focus on inclusive growth policy and legislation to help support the government’s mandate the end poverty.

“We have committed to push for inclusive growth and enterprise support. Our legislative agenda will focus on bills that help support entrepreneurs, create more jobs, and end poverty,” Aquino says.


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