Poor Philippine small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

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NO major politicians and socio-economic NGO heavyweights are saying anything about the doom awaiting small Filipino businessmen and manufacturers when the full weight of the Asean economic integration falls on the Philippines. No one, that is, except voices from the Left.

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Why is that? Because it is politically incorrect in the Philippines to complain aloud about the harm that the coming into being of the Asean economic community will do to little people in our country when the bigger, more muscular, wealthier and more advanced trading houses and manufacturers–and the bakeries and candymakers– of Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia enter our country and function as “Filipino citizens.” Which is what Asean integration means. It is not politically correct to be negative in our country under the BS Aquino regime about policies that will benefit the richest and most powerful.

But one voice with some prestige and clout has spoken out at last. That voice is that of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

He says: “Philippines small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not ready for Asean integration!”

He is asking the government to give full government support to the otherwise doomed Filipino SMEs.

He says the Philippine SMEs are ill-prepared to keep alive in a new, single economic society called the Asean Community, because of the absence of full government backing.

Senator Marcos says SMEs are the most vulnerable sector in the Asean integration movement with the non-tariff barriers removed, which make markets more open and more competitive. He pointed out that SMEs need to access government resources and those coming from other financial institutions to be able to improve their products and operations–and themselves more able to compete against the stronger Asean rivals.

Marcos says the government has gravely and greatly failed the SMEs because most of them still find it difficult to access loans and other forms of financial assistance.

Aside from the SMEs problems in accessing loan facilities, poor infrastructure and high cost of power are also keeping the poor Filipino entrepreneurs from achieving global competitiveness.

Marcos points out that Filipino SMEs are powerless in the Asean integration free-for-all without full government support. “Our country is now open to new and stronger businesses which may force our SMEs to shut down without government backing them up every step of the way,” he said. He cited the statistics showing that SMEs make up 99.6 percent of businesses registered in our country and employ 70 percent of the country’s total workforce. This means the downfall of the SMEs will mean the downfall of the greater Philippine society.

Senator Marcos, however, sees that it is not too late to help the SMEs. Our country has enough laws with the necessary safeguards to assist them. Implementing these laws will give more strength to our SMEs to be able to compete against regional rivals.

He said that government should be more zealous in helping the SMEs develop product improvement and innovation techniques. More rigorous skills training should be pursued to help the entrepreneurs make products that are regionally and globally competitive. “If we are to make meaningful change in the economy, we should help our SMEs because they make up more than 99 percent of our businesses and as they are now competing in the Asean market, they should be able to offer high value products and services to be able to survive.”

If these prescriptions are not carried out, our SMEs are doomed.

Work can be done more assiduously now by BS Aquino and his men and until they leave five months from now. Then the next administration should be just as hardworking and determined to boost the SMEs.

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5 Comments

  1. pakialamero na pinoy on

    Small and Medium businesses should be given some incentives such as government subsidy, tax breaks and financing with low interest. These are just few of the incentives that the government can offer to our small business. Look at China, the way they encourage small businesses : they are getting a lot of help from their government, such as subsidy, low interest loan, business advisors and so on. Their product is then shipped all over the world, and mostly, to the U.S. and oftentimes creates a trade imbalance between the two countries. Corruption, specially government officials are also the biggest factor. In China, corrupt government officials normally punished by execution. In the Philippines, corrupt politicians / government employees attend mass on Sundays, confess their sins, and be basically forgiven. This is the type of mentality we have, to include Janet Lim Napoles.

  2. After the war, there were many Pilipino specially in Manila who have no work. They set up small business, particularly Filipino Chinese, who set up small businesses, sari-sari stores, taho, bote garapa, etc., Several of my aunts, like the father of the Filipino-Chinese mogul Mr. Henry SY, set up a sari-sari store and was able to send her children to college with her sari-sari store. They don’t have any secrets but only hard work and the ease of doing business, that is without government interference-no permits, unlike now.
    Sen. Marcos, in order for Small Pilipino who would like to cope up with the Asian Integration, why not sponsor a bill that will give Filipino business with a small capital of maximum ONE MILLION PESOS BE TAX FREE FOR FIVE YEARS AND FREE FROM GETTING BURDENED AND HOSTAGED BY BUSINESS PERMITS FROM HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION AND BARANGAYS.

  3. The other problem is corruption int he government. Government agencies keep on extorting from SME’s!

  4. “The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance,
    but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of
    life. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate
    its successors. Who wields power is not important, provided
    that the hierarchical structure remains always the same”
    George Orwell

    There is a simple system in the Philippines.
    Reject/faulty/overproduction/counterfeits are bought at highly discounted prices, smuggled into the country in huge quantities by the big players, and with BoC complicity, to then be sold in their stores/franchises at excess prices, employing cheap labor with no rights/union etc.

    The oligarchs, who fund and look after the leaders/politicians have no interest in SME’s, ASEAN, or developing local manufacturing.

    Until some-one is elected who is not a ‘club member’ the situation will not only continue, but get worse.

    Which Senator ever has exposed the system. None, because they all benefit and are part of a conspiracy of silence.

    Everybody knows who the big smugglers are, and which oligarch was behind the 1,910 missing container fiasco, but nobody will rock the boat, or bite the hand that feeds them.

    No wonder the philippines has dropped in the corruption index. The current administration under pnoy aquino have allowed the oligarchs to run riot and make incredible profits.

    You will only help SME’s by breaking up the monopolies, rebalancing the system, and stop giving political control to the oligarchs behind the scenes. Their interests and the nation’s interests are diammetrically opposed.

    Marcos could say and do more than a simple motherhood statement. He knows where the ‘economic’ bodies are buried – so to speak.

    • Wolfgang Struck on

      Excellent observation, excellently put down for everybody interested to read and understand. Maraming salamat. I salut to you. WES

      BTW, maybe you should be the President. I am serious.