MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday, November 12, pledged support for the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recognizing its significant contribution in achieving inclusive growth.

President Duterte made the pronouncement as he graced the launching of the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) and opening of ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) at Solaire Grand Ballroom in Pasay City.

“Next year, I would like to make some late changes in the GAA --- the annual budget. I would like to pour more money on this medium, small, and micro enterprise,” Duterte said.

“Maybe a few billions here and there would suffice? Well, talagang bubuhos ako ng capital because we found out in our meetings with APEC, that the basic, basic unit of the economy has always been moved by the MSMEs,” he added AMEN, a flagship program of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) under the Philippine Chairmanship, is designed to facilitate the scaling up of the micro and small enterprises in the ASEAN region through mentorship.

ABAC Chair Joey Concepcion introduced to the President the first pool of mentors of AMEN comprising of entrepreneurs, business practitioners and academicians from the 10 ASEAN Member States.

“As an opportune time for government and business sectors leaders across the region to come together, it is my hope that the ASEAN Mentors for Entrepreneurship Network would become a catalyst for inclusive prosperity that can be shared by all,” President Duterte said as a message to AMEN pioneers.

The Chief Executive likewise enjoined them to take the lead in promoting MSMEs asking them to utilize their “enthusiasm” for the development of their respective countries and the ASEAN region as well.

Duterte also led the opening of ABIS, which highlights the multichannel connectivity, infrastructure development, entrepreneurial empowerment, disruptive innovation, policy directions in trade, issues that affect businesses and other priority concerns of the leaders today.

With the theme “World Leaders’ Roadmap Towards Prosperity for All,” the event promotes dialogue among the private sector and with the region’s leaders including heads of states, ministers of ASEAN Member States and ASEAN partners. (PND)