PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) would be empowered and enabled to participate in the digital economy under his administration.
In his opening remarks during the Country Strategy Dialogue at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Marcos told potential investors that MSMEs are at the center of his administration’s digitization efforts.
“We aim to empower and enable MSMEs to participate in the digital economy and thus significantly narrow the digital divide,” Marcos said.
The President said the Philippine government recognizes the importance of digitalization as a key driver for long-term development and the economic transformation of the post-pandemic global economy.
The President also told investors that the country’s CREATE Act or Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act provided much-needed relief for the country’s MSMEs through a reduction in the corporate income tax rate and said this would end investor uncertainty.
In his one-on-one dialogue with WEF President Børge Brende, President Marcos pointed out that his administration is concentrating on the MSMEs because they comprise a large part of the economy, similar to most Southeast Asian countries.
“And I think that’s where the growth is coming from,” Marcos said, noting that his government kept an eye on the country’s unemployment rate amid reports of a recession last year.
Meanwhile, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual said among his objectives in attending the WEF is to exchange ideas on how to help MSMEs.
“I’m here to talk with the investors, but one of my biggest goals is to exchange ideas on how to help small businesses, for example, the ones we call MSMEs,” Pascual said in an interview on Wednesday.
“DTI is here to help businesses grow from small micro-enterprises to giant industries and we are here to organize the environment, the so-called regulations, and other policies that businesses will follow, and also provide assistance directly like financing for small businesses,” he added.
Former president and Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Marcos’ participation in the WEF was a good move to sell the Philippines as an “excellent” investment destination.
Arroyo said Marcos did well in presenting his administration’s agenda for the Philippines’ economic recovery and growth to WEF participants, including political and business leaders. Vince Lopez
“I have always believed that President Marcos’ trip to Davos would yield a good result. He is Western-educated, intelligent, and articulate. To put it in English, he speaks their language,” Arroyo, who is part of the official WEF Philippine delegation, said in an interview on Wednesday.
“The President knows the importance of the government’s partnership with the private sector to sustain the country’s growth. The private sector also believes in the potential of the President,” she said.
Arroyo expressed confidence that Mr. Marcos would attract more foreign investors during his trip to Switzerland.
In a separate interview, Private Sector Advisory Council lead convener and Aboitiz Group chief executive officer Sabin Aboitiz said the private sector is “very, very happy” to work with the government.
“The strong belief in the private sector, that combination is perfect because you know, not only do you get the money but the advice and the enthusiasm, right?” Aboitiz said.
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Friday praised the country’s business leaders who showed support during the President’s participation at the WEF.
“The active and enthusiastic participation of the Philippine business leaders in the WEF activities was truly impressive,” Diokno said.
The business leaders were JG Summit Holdings President and CEO Lance Gokongwei; Ayala Corp Chairman Jaime Zobel De Ayala; International Container Terminal Services Inc. Chairman, President and Executive Director Enrique Razon; Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. Executive Director Sabin Aboitiz; Alliance Global CEO Kevin Tan, and SM Investment Corp. Vice Chairman and BDO Chairperson Teresita Sy Coson; and San Miguel Corp. President and CEO Ramon Ang.
Metro Pacific Investment Corp. Chairman and President Manuel Pangilinan was cited as the “8th tycoon” who showed support by showing up at a dinner hosted by the chief executive officers for the President in Davos Wednesday night.