President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (Screenshot)

MANILA – Reviving the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) in the country is one of the administration's top priorities, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Friday.

Marcos made the assurance during the MSME Summit 2022 at the Manila Hotel in the City of Manila.

"As your President, I assure you that the revitalization of MSMEs is among the administration's top priorities," he said in his keynote speech, acknowledging the MSMEs' "critical" role in the country's economic regeneration, job creation, and poverty reduction.

MSMEs comprise 99.51 percent of business establishments in the Philippines and employ about 63 percent of the country's workforce.

Marcos expressed optimism about MSMEs' recovery despite the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

He assured that his administration would work with all stakeholders to ensure that MSMEs, being the "backbone" of the Philippine economy, are "protected and provided with ample opportunities."

"Now as we navigate these unchartered waters of a post-pandemic world, we take small but firm steps towards recovery and progress," he said.

'Pandemic-proof’ strategies

Marcos added that the government would help MSMEs thrive by providing them with an “enabling and sound” environment.

“I once again give my utmost assurance and commitment that your government is here to help you level up and succeed, especially during these difficult times. We will harness the strengths of various sectors to ensure a more cohesive government approach in creating a more sustainable environment for our MSMEs and all our important stakeholders,” he said.

This was after he acknowledged that the pandemic hit the Philippine economy and forced businesses to rethink to survive the global health crisis.

Marcos said “pandemic-proof” strategies would allow MSMEs to move forward to a “more resilient and prosperous future.”

“The past two years have certainly been difficult, but they only show how strong we are as a nation. Now is a time to come up with these pandemic-proof strategies that will allow our businesses to take wing and serve its consumer base with quality products and services. Indeed, the success of our MSMEs is crucial to fortifying the foundation of our economy,” he said.

The MSME Summit 2022, attended by Marcos, was organized by Go Negosyo, along with the United States Embassy in Manila and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in celebration of National MSME month.

The summit's theme is "Ensuring an Enabling Recovery Environment for the MSMEs".

Marcos lauded Go Negosyo, the DTI, the US Embassy in Manila, as well as their partners for conducting a summit aimed at reaching a “richer path for collaboration and innovation in the business sector.”

“I know that it will be an avenue for the government and private sector to find ways to work together, ensuring an enabling and sound environment for the recovery of our MSMEs,” he said. “I am pleased that the focus of the MSMEs Summit are post-pandemic recovery and the promotion of digitalization aligned with the priorities of the administration for we have a common view of our shared future, the future that we as Filipinos will share together.”

The MSME Summit allows people from different industries to exchange ideas and insights in establishing pandemic-proof strategies for the post-Covid 19 business recovery.

The event also aims to cultivate entrepreneurship using the 3Ms (Mentorship, Money, and Market) to ensure an enabling environment for the MSMEs' recovery and the entire business community.

It seeks to enhance the programs and policy design capacity of the public sector for MSMEs and feature the best global models of digital innovation.

Formulation of strategic goals

Marcos also expressed support for the MSME Development Council’s formulation and implementation of strategic goals to improve five key business areas – business climate; access to finance; management and labor; access to technology and innovation; and market access.

“This multidimensional approach will allow us to breathe new life into our MSMEs and help them move forward to a more resilient and prosperous future,” he said. “From this end, it is my assurance we will continue to stand by your side, walk down the same road no matter the circumstances. I am excited to see the outcome of the summit as it will open new doors, new strategies and new ideas, and opportunities for our MSMEs to realize their full potential as our nation’s vehicles for growth and for development.”

In the same event, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said the US supports the growth of the country's digital economy and encouraged more MSMEs to participate.

To recall, one of its projects in the country, the Strengthening Private Enterprises for the Digital Economy (SPEED), seeks to promote greater participation of Philippine MSMEs in the digital economy.

"Rebuilding Filipino MSMEs must be at the forefront of our response to the collective impacts of the pandemic, the climate crisis, and other challenges we face – because MSMEs are the backbone of the Philippine economy," she said.

"I was impressed to learn that ninety-nine percent of Philippine enterprises are MSMEs, and that they account for 63 percent of local jobs. MSMEs also play a crucial role in inclusive development for the working poor, women, youth, and people in vulnerable situations," she added. (With reports from Joyce Ann Rocamora/PNA)