Doing Business in the Philippines
I attended the EntrepSummit 2013 at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) last September 18. It was a half-day event filled with wonderful and inspiring speakers. Starting the day was Senator Bam Aquino with his talk on Empowering MSMEs [Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises] Towards Inclusive Growth by 2015. He was followed by an entrepreneur who turned her passion into profit, Laureen Uy. Next speaker was Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags2Riches, a company that helped the community in Payatas by giving them access to the market. Here are some photos taken during the event.
One of the interesting questions that was asked was this one,
What is the government [in other words, you, Senator] doing to help MSMEs in their two (2) most challenging problems – High Taxes and High Transaction Costs?
This question was directed to the Senator and he answered in a frank and simple way. He said that they know about this problem already. From personal experience, he had been an entrepreneur for a couple of years prior joining the Senate. He started by saying that in a survey done the World Bank, we ranked 138 out of 185 countries (8th of 9 in ASEAN countries) in the ease of doing business. That is pretty low. Senator Aquino mentioned that the National Competitive Council (NCC) are doing a lot of reforms in simplifying steps and shortening lead times. More information can be found on their website.
Now, what are they (Senator Bam Aquino and his team) doing to help the business owners?
“The way we are taxed is not responsive to the way we run our businesses”
Their office is already working on changing the tax bracketing system of the country, which was made in 1997 and is not particularly applicable to us now. They have filed a lot of bills already which would not be detailed here. But the point he was trying to make is that he and his team are doing something. He admitted that they cannot be working on everything at the same time. That is why they said that if you have any position papers or would like to talk to them, feel free to send them an email.
Senator Aquino ended his talk with a challenge to entrepreneurs.
He started with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) / Pork Barrel issue. He said that the reason why 15 senators already wanted to abolish this was the clamor of the people.
“The more people are organized, the more people are pushing, the faster these bills will be passed.”
If we have more people care about these things, it is possible. And the faster we can see and feel the effect of their hard work.