7 February 2023
Civil society groups and lawmakers on Monday opened a trade fair at the House of Representatives featuring locally-made and socially responsible products to promote the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Bill.
The trade fair, organized by the PRESENT Coalition, the Office of Hon. Jose Manuel F. Alba, Roots Collective and Oxfam Pilipinas, highlighted the efforts of social enterprises, which are social mission-driven organizations that help poor and marginalized communities earn a living while protecting the environment.
As the nation continues to recover from the pandemic, we should be looking at supporting social enterprises given their vast potential to contribute to inclusive economic development. Given the right support, they can bring in more than 1.5 billion pesos to the economy and allow poor households to earn incomes while caring for the environment.Oxfam Pilipinas Executive Director Erika Geronimo
Social enterprises come in the form of cooperatives, agricultural associations, microfinance institutions, and foundations, among others. Pre-pandemic, they composed 18% of all enterprises in the Philippines. However, many social enterprises faced challenges and had to shut down during the lockdowns, cutting short the benefits they bring to the communities they serve.
The PRESENT Coalition, which is supported by Oxfam Pilipinas through the Gender Transformative and Responsible Agribusiness Investments in South East Asia (GRAISEA), said the proposed law will enable the creation and strengthening of social enterprises as transformational partners of the poor and marginalized.
With government support, the social enterprise sector can address poverty on a grand scale while ensuring inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic towards building back fairer and accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of zero poverty, no hunger, reduced inequality, women’s economic empowerment, and building resilient and sustainable communities.Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia President and PRESENT Coalition Convener Dr. Marie Lisa Dacanay
From February 6 to 9, social enterprises will be at the trade fair and exhibit to not only sell and promote their products but also to gather supporters and meet with their legislative champions.
Hon. Jose Manuel F. Alba who is an author of House Bill no. 5554 or a version of the PRESENT Bill lodged with the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Committee of the House, said “Our poverty reduction strategies should not be limited to job generation and creation of livelihood opportunities, it should also include programs that champion personal finance on a grassroots level.”
Among the participating social enterprises are Bote Central, Social Enterprise Development Partnerships, Inc., Plantsville Health, Habi Lifestyle and Footwear, Twelve Topaz, Balay Mindanaw, GlowCorp, Federation of People’s Sustainable Development Cooperative, Tsaa Laya, Yaman Coop, Mayani, and Community Crafts Association of the Philippines.
As an aggregator and platform for social enterprises, we believe the Social Enterprise Trade Fair is a way for social enterprises to further get the exposure they very much need and deserve. Setting it up in the heart of government lends it further credibility and empowerment especially as we push to pass legislation to assist social enterprises in an institutional manner.Roots Collective CEO and co-founder Allister Roy Chua
ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS
The Poverty Reduction Through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Coalition is a network of civil society organizations, social entrepreneurs and resource institutions, academe, and advocates that work together to push for the enactment of a social enterprise policy in the Philippines.
The Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) is a learning and action network set up by social enterprises and social enterprise resource institutions and scholars to catalyze knowledge creation, capacity development, and movement-building for social entrepreneurship in the region.
Roots Collective is a pioneering marketplace and community bridging social and creative entrepreneurs with conscious consumers, advocates, and the wider market.
Oxfam’s Gender Transformative & Responsible Business Investment in South East Asia (GRAISEA) programme believes that equitable, sustainable and viable value chains can be built for agriculture commodities through multi-stakeholder cooperation. This is funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok.
Oxfam Pilipinas is a development and humanitarian organization that works towards a future where Filipinos, especially women and other vulnerable sectors, are free from the injustices of poverty.
Policy Advocacy and Communications Manager