Sen. Bam: Over 800 Negosyo Centers ready to help families find livelihood amid rising unemployment

With prices of goods and unemployment both on the rise, Senator Bam Aquino said the 800-plus Negosyo Centers in the country play an even bigger role in providing Filipino families livelihood.

“Sa harap ng mataas na presyo ng bilihin at mataas na bilang ng walang trabaho sa bansa, higit na kailangang kumilos ang ating Negosyo Centers para mabigyan ng tulong ang ating mga kababayan,” said Sen. Bam, principal sponsor and author of Republic Act No. 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act.

Sen. Bam commended the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for effectively implementing his law and ensuring the establishment of over 800 Negosyo Centers in the country.

Sen. Bam also invited the public to visit the closest Negosyo Center to meet and consult with accommodating business counselors from DTI, who can guide them in finding steady livelihood through small business ventures.

“Sa panahon ng mamahaling bilihin at mataas na unemployment, kailangan ng kabuhayan at dagdag kita ang ating mga kababayan. Baka mahanap nila ito sa pagnenegosyo,” said Sen. Bam, a long-time advocate of micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development.

A recent SWS survey showed that the number of unemployment Filipinos rose to 10.9 million, the highest since 2016.

The latest Pulse Asia survey also revealed that 86 percent of 1,200 respondents claimed they were strongly affected by the increase in prices of goods.

Sen. Bam’s first enacted law, the Go Negosyo Act mandates the establishment of Negosyo Centers in all municipalities, cities and provinces that will assist micro, small and medium enterprises in the country.

Negosyo Centers provide access to markets and financing for businesses, training programs, and a simplified business registration process, thus helping ease of doing business and fast-track government processes in putting up a business.

There are now more than 800 Negosyo Centers in different parts of the country, ready to cater to the needs of startups and MSMEs.

Sen. Bam invites returning OFWs to Negosyo Centers

Sen. Bam Aquino encouraged returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and those affected by the deployment ban to visit the nearest Negosyo Center in their area to get the necessary assistance in starting their own business.

“May maaasahan kayong libreng tulong upang makabuo ng kabuhayan at negosyo. Inaanyayahan namin ang kayo na bumisita sa pinakamalapit na Negosyo Center,” said Sen. Bam, principal author and sponsor of the Negosyo Center law or Republic Act No. 10644, the Go Negosyo Act.

“Sa tulong ng ating Negosyo Centers, makakapagtayo ang ating OFWs ng sariling negosyo na maaari nilang pagkunan ng ikabubuhay para hindi nila kailangang iwan pa ang pamilya para mangibang-bansa,” added Sen. Bam.

As of last count, there are around 800 Negosyo Centers in different parts of the country, ready to cater to the needs of those who want to start or expand their own business.

The senator said that while this is not the ultimate solution to the issue, every agency and every Filipino with the opportunity to support our returning OFWs must do their part and lend a helping hand.

The Negosyo Center provides access to markets and financing for businesses, training programs, and a simplified business registration process, thus helping ease of doing business and fast-track government processes in putting up a business.

The law mandates the establishment of Negosyo Centers in all municipalities, cities and provinces that will assist micro, small and medium enterprises in the country.

The Go Negosyo Act was passed during Sen. Bam’s term as chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship. It was the first of 19 laws passed by Sen. Bam in the 16th and 17th Congress.

In the 17th Congress, Sen. Bam filed Senate Bill No.  648 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Assistance Act to boost support for the OFW community and the families they leave back home.

If enacted into law, the measure will integrate programs on livelihood, entrepreneurship, savings, investments and financial literacy to the existing efforts of embassies to equip OFWs with knowledge to start their own business.

In a survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) last September 2015, only 38.2 pecrcent of the 563 household-respondents said that a portion of the money from OFWs are set aside for savings.

Aside from the livelihood aspect, Sen. Bam’s measure mandates the Public Attorney’s Office to establish a help desk in every international port of exit in the Philippines to offer legal service, assistance and advice to departing migrant workers.

Sen. Bam calls on rural banks to expand support to small businesses

Senator Bam Aquino urged rural banks to expand their services to more small businesses, saying many local entrepreneurs still need access to reasonable loan packages that can help them grow their business.
Sen. Bam issued this plea during his speech at 60th Charter Symposium of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) recently. 
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa RBAP sa inyong pagsisikap na maabot ang ating mga kababayang nangangailangan ng serbisyong pinansiyal. Marami pa po ang nangangailangan ng ating tulong,” said Sen. Bam.
During his time as a social entrepreneur, Sen. Bam learned that lack of financing poses a big challenge for micro, small and medium enterprises as it hampers their development.
“So when I became a senator, we focused on policies that can help support our MSMEs in the Philippines,” Sen. Bam pointed out.
One of them is finding ways to link MSMEs to financial institutions, including rural banks, to help their search for fresh capital to start or expand their businesses.
In his four years as senator, Sen. Bam worked for the passage of Republic Act 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act, the first of his 19 laws as legislator.
The law mandates the establishment of Negosyo Centers in every town, city, municipality, and province of the country to serve as support hubs for entrepreneurs.
As of now, there are over 600 Negosyo Centers across the country that link MSMEs to suppliers and markets, providing training and support and connect them to sources of capital and financing.
As its principal sponsor and co-author, Sen. Bam also pushed for the enactment of Republic Act 10679 or the Youth Entrepreneurship Act , which mandates the inclusion of financial literacy and entrepreneurial training will be included in basic education.
“This will help groom young Filipinos to be responsible with their money and savings,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam also passed other laws in support of MSMEs, such as the Philippine Competition Act, Foreign Ships Co-Loading, Microfinance NGOs Act and the Credit Surety Fund Cooperative Act.
In the 17th Congress, Sen. Bam has filed the Philippine Islamic Financing Act, National Payment Systems Act and the Secured Transactions Act, measures that will help enhance the credit-worthiness and bankability of Filipinos, particularly small business owners.

Sen. Bam to unemployed Filipinos: Negosyo Centers can help you

Sen. Bam Aquino urged unemployed Filipinos to visit the closest Negosyo Center so they can get help in starting a business.

“Habang wala kayong nahahanap na trabaho, bakit di muna subukang magnegosyo. Hindi dapat matakot dahil naririyan ang mahigit 500 Negosyo Centers sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa para kayo’y tulungan,” said Sen. Bam.

According to Sen. Bam, the Negosyo Centers have served around 800,000 Filipinos, from retired overseas Filipino workers (OFWS) to plain housewives, giving them the means to supplement their household income through business.

“Sa ngayon, marami nang mga Pilipino ang kumikita sa simpleng negosyo dahil sa tulong ng Negosyo Center,” said Sen. Bam, who has met with some of these successful entrepreneurs during his Negosyo Center visits.

Sen. Bam was the principal author and sponsor of the Republic Act No. 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act during his term as chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship. It was the first of 17 laws passed by Sen. Bam in the 16th Congress.

The Go Negosyo Act mandates the establishment of Negosyo Centers in all municipalities, cities and provinces that will assist micro, small and medium enterprises in the country.

The Negosyo Center will provide access to markets and financing for businesses, training programs, and a simplified business registration process, thus helping ease of doing business and fast-track government processes in putting up a business.

Sen. Bam: Youth Entrepreneurship Act implementation long overdue

A legislator called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to implement the law encouraging students and graduates to venture into business.
“Nananawagan tayo sa Department of Education na ilabas na ang Implementing Rules and Regulations para sa Youth Entrepreneurship Act upang mapakinabangan na ng ating mga kabataan,” said Sen. Bam Aquino.
The Youth Entrepreneurship Act or Republic Act No. 10679 was passed August 2015 but no IRR has been released. The law mandates that the IRR be promulgated within one hundred twenty (120) days from its effectivity.
The law encourages young would-be entrepreneurs to establish their own business by providing them access to capital and other support.
It also creates financial literacy modules in all levels of Philippine education, to inculcate a culture of enterprise development among the Filipino youth.
“Gusto nating makakita ng trabaho ang ating mga graduates ngunit mayroon din silang opsiyon na pumasok at magtagumpay sa pagnenegosyo. Matutulungan sana ang ating kabataang magtagumpay sa negosyo kung ma-implement ng maayos ang iilang mga batas na ating isinulong noong 16th Congress,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam was the author and principal sponsor of the Go Negosyo Act (Republic Act 10667), his first law in the 16th Congress, and the co-author and principal sponsor of the Youth Entrepreneurship Act.
The senator pursued the passage of these two laws during his time as chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship in the 16th Congress to cater to the needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“These two laws provide MSMEs a conducive environment they need to succeed. At the same time, they also help provide fresh jobs and other livelihood opportunities for their fellow Filipinos,” stressed Sen. Bam, adding that MSMEs account for 66 percent of jobs in the country.
At present, Sen. Bam said 470 Negosyo Centers are already up and running in different parts of the country, catering to the needs of MSMEs.
In the 17th Congress, Sen. Bam filed Senate Bill No. 169 or Small Business Tax Reform Act, which provides small businesses with lower income tax rate, VAT exemption and other privileges.
Sen. Bam has also submitted Senate Bill No. 175 or the Innovative Startup Act seeking to ease restrictions and provide incentives for startups in the Philippines.

Sen. Bam’s opening statement at the ASEAN Prosperity for All Summit

Good morning to everyone. Magandang umaga.

 Most of ​the laws we have passed are in support of  MSMEs and I think the favorite of Joey and Sec. Mon and a lot of the people here is of course the Go Negosyo Act of 2014 that was passed to create infrastructure to help our MSMEs, to help them grow and develop with a program that really is directed for that goal.

 A lot of people here I’ve met before becoming a senator. A lot of them know that my work in microfinance and social enterprise has led me to develop some of these policies.

And what you’ve seen is that most of our MSMEs will need what we call the 3 Ms – money, mentorship and market. We need the 3 Ms to create that enabling environment for them to be able to succeed and to be able to grow.

 Former President Arroyo talked about the first M which was money and definitely a lot of our MSMEs need that. We have a number of people here who own banks and who are part of banks, the medium and the large, I think these days are enjoying ​low​ interest rates.

 It’s your micro and small that need better interest rates, definitely opening up other forms of collateral or non-collateralized loans for them, or even a guarantee program which we have been talking about for years, is something that can truly help bridge that financing gap.

That’s the first M. The second M, of course, is mentorship and a lot of work is being put now in DTI and the ASEAN in terms of mentorship. In fact, the AMEN network is really to put together mentors not only from ​your own country but to be able to access that from our countries in the region is also equally important.

But the third M is the most crucial which is market. A lot of our MSMEs, a lot of our ​m​​icro​ and ​s​​mall do have good products, they do have a lot of potential but they aren’t able to access markets. This is something where when we talk about entering the global scene, are we ready, its all about accessing markets.

Initially, or maybe one way to be able to do it, and DTI does a lot of this, is through trade fairs and through bringing you closer to retailers, which I think we’re doing a lot these days. The other one is digital which is to skip the traditional structures and go straight to the homes of consumers. But I think one aspect which we really need to focus on is really to open up inclusive supply chain, which is what ​the KAPATID program is really focusing on.

 The classic example of this, of course, is Jollibee where they opened up their produce to local farmers. And that’s a 10-year program already, which a lot of the companies here I think can get into. These days, our ability to help our intention to provide prosperity for all has shifted already from dole​outs and CSR budgets to truly one where the challenge is opening up our businesses to smaller businesses, to micro businesses and it’s not the easiest thing to do as this has been documented already. But it’s what we need to do.

If we can do that within our country and eventually across the ASEAN, where your larger companies are able to get supply from smaller companies or even micro businesses supplying to small and medium, not just within the province or within the region but across the ASEAN. I think we’re really creating an infrastructure where prosperity can be spread for all.

 Government and non-government organizations can come in in terms of the readiness of your micro and small enterprises because not everyone is ready. In fact, I would say the majority will probably not be ready. So there’s readiness that we need to do both on the side of the large companies, which probably their foundations can do or groups like the Go Negosyo and the KAPATID program can do.

 But there’s also need, maybe this is where local government and the Department of Trade and Industry, through the Negosyo Centers, can come in, support our micro and small enterprises. Get them to a place where they can supply at a quality, frequency and rate that’s acceptable to the larger businesses with their larger supply chains.

If these 3 Ms are present – capacity to get financing, the mentorship, which can be done either through government education institutions and partners, and the access to market, which can be done digitally, which can be done by bringing your products to retailers, and most importantly I think is opening up supply chains, then I think your enabling environment can truly be enabling and we can find success and growth that we want to see in this sector.

Bam lauds public, private sector for success of Negosyo Centers

Senator Bam Aquino credited the success of Negosyo Centers to the continued cooperation between the legislative and executive branches of government as well as the private sector.

 “Maayos po iyong batas, nakapondo po ito. Ngayon po ipinasa na sa executive. In fairness to our DTI family, buong-buo ang kanilang pagtanggap sa Negosyo Center. They’ve made the Negosyo Center one of their priorities,” said Sen. Bam during the launching of the 400th Negosyo Center in Marikina City.

 Sen. Bam is the principal author and sponsor of the Republic Act No. 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act in the Senate.

Through the Negosyo Center, Sen. Bam said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) now has a frontline service organization that will cater to the needs of micro, small and medium entrepreneurs.

“May 400 na sentro na pong pupuntahan ang ating mga maliliit na negosyante para makahingi ng tulong, kahit saan pa sila bansa,” Sen. Bam pointed out. 

Sen. Bam also lauded the private sector and non-government organizations for its participation in the success of the Negosyo Centers.

“In many areas, the Negosyo Center has become a focal point for support, even NGOs, microfinance groups, basta may kinalaman sa pagtulong sa maliliit na negosyante, ito na ang kanilang bahay,” the senator pointed out.

 The Go Negosyo Act, the first law passed by Sen. Bam in the 16th Congress, mandates the establishment of Negosyo Centers in all municipalities, cities and provinces that will assist micro, small and medium enterprises in the country.

 The Negosyo Center will provide access to bigger markets and financing for businesses, training programs, and a simplified business registration process, thus helping ease of doing business and fast-track government processes in putting up a business.

Sen. Bam continues to work closely with the DTI to ensure the effective implementation of the law.

According to the DTI, the number of Negosyo Centers will increase to 420 by the end of 2016.

Senate Bill No. 354: Secured Transactions Act

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are critical in the country’s drive to maintain strong economic growth and uplift millions who live in poverty considering that in 2014 they comprised 99.6% of all Philippine businesses, generated 62.8% of all jobs in the Philippines,1and contributed to around 35% to Philippine GDP.2

The challenge is to ensure that microenterprises grow into small business; and small businesses develop into medium-sized enterprises. We must provide these businesses with an enabling environment so they survive, grow, and expand to create better lives for their families and increase job opportunities for other Filipinos. Crucial to their growth is access to financing at reasonable rates.

While there is notable growth in the microfinance sector, there is still a major gap relative to financing small enterprises, whose loan requirements are beyond the scope of microfinance institutions. Despite being a growth area for banks, SME financing is still considered unattractive given the perceived risks, without traditional collateral such as land and other real property. However, MSMEs’ assets are mostly personal in nature (equipment, inventory, motor vehicle, accounts receivable,etc.), making it difficult for MSMEs to meet bank requirements to get loan approvals. 

As early as 1906, the Philippines has in place a secured transactions legal environment, the Chattel Mortgage Law, and a document-based movable collateral registry operated by the Register of Deeds. The current regime recognizes a diverse set of movable assets acceptable as collateral for loan purposes (e.g., motor vehicles, standing crops, like rice, sugarcane, and other agri-aqua commodities, equipment, etc.,); however, these assets are not being fully utilized nor preferred by banks as loan collateral, except motor vehicles, which leaves the law ineffective to increase trade or facilitate access to finance for MSMEs, and underscores the need to modernize these laws governing movable asset lending in the Philippines. 

The Secured Transactions bill seeks to enable financial institutions to rethink how they view collateral and reduce the perceived risks, by providing protection for framework to govern lending transactions that involve the use of personal property as collateral, as well as the design, establishment, and operation of a unified, centralized, online notice-basednational collateral registry to assure banks that the collateral being submitted has not already been utilized for another loan. These reforms have the potential to increase credit access for women and small businesses, reduce the risks of non-satisfaction of debt and thereby lower the cost of borrowing, and reduce the rate of non-performing loans of financial institutions. 

Jurisdictions like Mexico, Vietnam, and China have undertaken similar reforms and have seen their positive impacts. For example, in Mexico, similar reforms led to the creation of a national Accounts Receivable Finance Platform by the government’s development bank, which has supported at least 130,000 SMEs through accounts receivable financing. In Vietnam, the number of collateral registrations (each representing a loan) surpassed 6000,000 cumulatively over a period of four years. In China, loans with movable asset security are now disbursed at about USD 3.0 trillion per year. 

The bill can bring growth to both MSMEs and to our financial institutions, and enjoin our banks to take part in MSME development with less risk. This measure provides us an opportunity to create a win-win, balanced environment for financial institutions and small businesses, which will generate more employment and sustainable livelihood for Filipinos across the country. 

In view of the foregoing, immediate passage of this bill is earnestly sought. 


Senate Bill No. 349: Inclusive Business Promotion Act

In the recently concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC Summit held in the Manila, we had the first ever high-level discussion on Inclusive Business, which promoted the idea of companies taking part in development, not just through philanthropy but also through their products and supply chains.

Under this inclusive business umbrella are social enterprises as well as large corporations that utilize their products, services, or even their supply chains to help poor communities create a sustainable industry and become financially successful.

This concept of business taking part in nation-building and social development is finally catching on and all over the world, allies in the fight against poverty have found an effective weapon – conscientious entrepreneurship – to beat poverty and create prosperity.

There is no better time than now to establish policies in support of this movement.

“Inclusive Business (IB),” as defined in this measure, refers to “a business approach that provides decent work and economic opportunities or relevant and affordable goods or services for poor and low income and/or marginalized sectors of society by making them part of the organization’s core operations as producers, consumers, workers, owners or business partners, directly contributing to improved living standards, poverty reduction and systemic inclusion in a manner that is sustainable, in scale or scalable, and replicable.”

The Inclusive Business Bill provides for the establishment of a national strategy for the promotion of Inclusive Businesses to be implemented by a new office, the Inclusive Business Center. The bill also provides policies for IB accreditation, and providing support and incentives for IBs and their community partners, including social enterprises.

A key strategy for providing sustainable livelihood and reducing poverty, especially in the countryside, is by integrating poor communities as suppliers of goods and/or services in the value chain of large businesses.

Inclusive Business companies can serve to link poor communities to more viable markets, enhancing economic opportunities and sources of income, and enabling them level up from subsistence livelihood.

Let us enjoin the private sector to take part in the creating shared prosperity in our nation.

In view of the foregoing, that passage of this bill is earnestly sought.  


Senate Bill No. 176: Poverty Through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Act

This measure provides the framework for the planning and implementation of a National Poverty Reduction Through Social Entrepreneurship (the “PRESENT”) Program. 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” or “SE” as defined in the proposed bill, refers to a social mission- driven organization that conducts economic activities providing goods and/or services directly related to its primary mission of improving the well-being of the poor, basic and marginalized sectors and their living environment. A social enterprise explicitly declares and pursues poverty reduction as its principal objective by purposefully rendering both transactional and transformational services. An SE engages and invests in the poor 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 SE also uses its surplus or profits and mobilizes other resources to assist the poor to become partners in SE or value chain management and governance and 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 eqilitable 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 lifefor 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 – a 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 be officially recognized and defined in order for the government to be able to give it adequate support. 

In view of the foregoing, approval of this bills is earnestly sought.


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