Press Release
April 18, 2013

Cayetano pushes for increased access to capital for SMEs

"Giving access to capital to all Filipinos is the key to ending the problem of unemployment." Senator Alan Cayetano made this statement as he reiterated his call for greater access to capital for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the wake of a forum organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) on the issue.

Cayetano said that doing so would help ease the burden of unemployment and underemployment on Filipinos given that they will have alternative means of livelihood to turn to.

"While the Aquino administration has been successful in generating more than 1.156 million jobs in 2011 alone, fact still remains that as of January 2013 around 2.89 million Filipinos are still unemployed and 7.018 million are underemployed. This just shows that we need to provide ways for these Filipinos to fend for themselves using other means - giving them the capital to start businesses," he said.

Cayetano lamented that in his Listening Tour he has heard this frustration uttered by Filipinos from different sectors of the country's society.

"From the market places of Tondo and Cubao to the temporary homes of the victims of Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro, I have heard the same thing: People resort to borrowing money from loan sharks because borrowing money for business capital from the government is more time consuming," he said. "If we could just make the process easier for them then more SMEs will flourish in the country."

Cayetano explained that this is where his proposal of strengthening and creating cooperatives comes in. "By developing cooperatives with the capacity to lend capital to its members, we are enabling more Filipinos to start their own small businesses and eventually provide more employment opportunities for other Filipinos," he said.

Cayetano also suggested that the government use the existing Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program to enact a capital-lending scheme to its beneficiaries to enable them to set up their own businesses.

"In this case, we're showing them 'how to fish' and stand on their own two feet instead of just 'giving them fish' and making them dependent on welfare," he said.

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