Tañada: “Social Entrepreneurship Will Be One Vehicle Towards Poverty Reduction”

Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada is excited to have some discussion on HB 6085 going.  The bill which he recently filed seeks to promote and develop social enterprises to directly empower the poor and reduce poverty.

“There has been some economic growth from 2003 to 2009, I admit.  But the growth we have witnessed has not translated in closing the gap between the rich and the poor.  In fact, the poor has grown in numbers.  While we continue to battle against corruption and implement reforms, we must pursue growth with the poor in mind.  Unlik traditional business enterprises that are primarily here to generate profit to enrich their owners, I appreciate social enterprises for creating profit or surplus with and for the poor.  And unlike companies practicing corporate social responsibility which tend to give up their social causes when their profit margins are at stake, I appreciate social enterprises for putting the  interest of the poor first:  just wages and fair prices for their workers or suppliers are not just costs but are considered benefits to the poor they serve, and vital for the sustainability of the enterprise,”  he expounded.

Overall, HB 6085 codifies a set of incentives and support programs for social enterprises to flourish in major economic subsectors so that as a nation, we can accelerate poverty reduction.  These support programs include special credit windows supported by a guarantee fund pool so that social enterprises could avail of non-collateralized loans; a comprehensive insurance system so that social enterprises and the poor could be protected from the impacts of climate change and natural disasters; a research and development program  to assist social enterprises undertake continuing innovations; a market development program based on the principles of fair trade that would allow social enterprises to grow; and a capacity development program to assist social enterprises and the poor manage the challenges of scaling up .

One particularly interesting provision that the Deputy Speaker would wish to have some more in-depth discussion is Section 28 of the proposed bill entitled “Preferential Right for SEs Transacting Business with Government”.  It seeks to amend RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act to buy goods or avail of services from SEs should there be certified SEs that exist that has the ability to provide such.

“This will give the marginalized sectors like persons with disabilities (PWDs) the fighting chance to provide goods and services to government, earn their keep, and be productive members of our society.  It will also give other marginalized sectors like coconut farmers and fisher-folk, known to be among the poorest of the poor, to feel that their products are needed and can be utilized productively by government, stimulating demand and providing greater income to these groups,”  Tañada said.#