Press Release
August 29, 2014

Villar wants PH MSMEs to be competitive

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar yesterday said the country's MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), which comprised over 90% of our businesses, can be more competitive in the ASEAN market with enhanced strategies and a lot of will power.

In her speech before the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Villar said our MSMEs can compete head-on in the regional economic integration, but there should also be preparation and support from the government.

Since the Philippines has the second largest population next to Indonesia and the highest growth rate, Villar stressed it is in the best position to benefit from the regional economic integration next year.

"Let us all seize these opportunities and possibilities... We need to pull our acts together so we can take advantage of all the opportunities that it will bring," she further said.

She underscored the need for a closer and enhanced coordination between government agencies and the MSME sector to make MSMEs not only ready for ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) integration, but globally competitive.

Villar said data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) indicate the critical role of MSMEs in local economy.

The DTI said that in 2011, there were already 820,255 business establishments operating in the country. Of the number, 99.6% are MSMEs and only 0.4 percent or 3,496 are large enterprises. These numbers are increasing every year.

In further citing the DTI data, Villar said MSMEs provide 50 percent of jobs or employment.

"And I'm sure, MSMEs here in Bicol are thriving as well, as I can see from the participants here at the Bicol Business Week this year," said the senator.

Due to these, Villar related that as chairperson of the Senate committee on Agriculture and Food, she has been in constant discussion and dialogue with concerned government departments primarily the Department of Agriculture and DTI, to be updated on the status of our compliance with our AEC commitments and blueprint and to monitor our so-called deliverables.

She said the AEC economic integration is just around the corner. It is expected to be completed on December 31, 2014.

The AEC agreement "will transform ASEAN into a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development and a region fully integrated into the global economy."

"There is strength in numbers and the 10 ASEAN countries have become attractive alternative destinations for investments. And for good reasons: ASEAN has an aggregate economic size of $2.3 trillion, a combined population of 616 million, an average of real GDP growth rate f 5.4% in 2012, and an estimated GDP per capita of $3,745," said Villar.

Regarding the legislative backing or support to the affected industries and agricultural products, Villar said her committee has identified some programs to protect and safeguard the interests of our farmers, fisher folks and food producers as well as suppliers and distributors.

Villar said she will review the tax incentives given to MSMEs and the manufacturing sector where there are many MSMEs.

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