MSMEs in regions need to bounce back after pandemic

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 31 March) – Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) all over the country need to bounce back to fast-track every region’s economic recovery, according to the regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

The PCCI-Mindanao, the Department of Trade and Industry, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco (leftmost) support MSMEs to fast-track economic recovery through exhibits such as the Hechos de Zamboanga (Products of Zamboanga) Trade Fair in December 2021. Photo courtesy of DTI-Zamboanga City

“We are aiming to bounce back and fast-track our economic recovery here in Zamboanga Peninsula as we go through the adverse effects of the pandemic in the past two years, and even up to now,” said Pedro Rufo “Pocholo” Soliven, head of PCCI-ZamPen.

This, following the recent second general membership meeting of PCCI-Mindanao and the induction ceremony of regional governors over the weekend.

Soliven was among seven regional governors who were virtually inducted to office, along with businessmen Ruben Vegafria (Northern Mindanao), Nenita Malbas (Davao de Oro in Southern Mindanao), Loreta Sy (Soccsksargen), Julie Senense (Eastern Mindanao), Dan Zambrano (Davao), and Elian Macala (Central Mindanao).

“As regional governor, we co-chair the micro, small-and medium development council,” he elaborated.

“With the MSMEs consisting of 99.5% of the total economy, we provide policy intervention and business continuity plan and bounce-back strategy to meet the challenges ahead,” Soliven said, adding that a regional governor likewise gets a seat in the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines (BIMP-EAGA), among others.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, as guest of PCCI-Mindanao during said meeting, vowed “continued support for Mindanaoan businessmen, particularly MSMEs,” while highlighting his advocacy on the Malasakit Centers which has been his government project.

Government support has been through the promotion of local products and the businesses that produce them, organizing exhibits that provide space for these MSMEs to display their products, hosting trainings and providing speakers to capacitate the Mindanaoan businessman, among others.

“We have done a bounce back strategy as a business continuity particularly for MSMEs which comprise 99.5% of the total economy,” Soliven said.

This may be done “through making available a lending window in partnership with small business corporation,” he explained, adding that “it’s zero interest and amortized in easy installment spread.”
Soliven, also the President of the Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce, Inc., stated further that they have been urging commercial private banks to relax “stringent bank requirements” in helping MSMEs.

“These will help pump prime the economy, an on-point strategy to restart the local economy and encourage them (MSMEs) to continue as well as to stimulate consumption in the economy,” he said.

Considering the transition, Soliven emphasized, “We also provide policy recommendation in the preparation of the exit plan as the COVID pandemic becomes endemic.”
Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco, as chairperson of the Regional Peace and Order Council 9, said that this has been part of the five-year Regional Development Plan of Zamboanga Peninsula, its long term view that took off from the economic gains and poverty reduction efforts of government, but has just been delayed because of the pandemic.

Soliven, as business chamber regional governor, is representing the region on April 5 during the Philippine  economic briefing and Sulong Pilipinas 2022. (Frencie L. Carreon / MindaNews)