By Raymund F. Antonio
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo stressed yesterday that with better access to credit facilities and financial services, small businesses will have more options to expand leading to stronger economic growth for the country
“In our goal of securing inclusive progress, our goal is for small businesses to scale up and become big businesses. They must not be small players forever,” Robredo said during the general assembly of Metro South Cooperative Bank (MCSB) where she was the guest speaker.
Meantime, the Manila Water Foundation recently signed a memorandum of agreement with Robredo’s office on Angat Buhay, her flagship program to alleviate poverty.
Key to business growth
The MSCB, owned by almost 600 primary and secondary cooperatives from all over the country, held its 21st annual assembly at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
Robredo noted that small businesses need credit facilities to achieve growth.
“By providing financial systems that are accessible to all, we are presenting more options for small businesses to thrive, therefore creating more means for our people to succeed,” she said.
“In the long run, these will result to a steadier and stronger economic growth for our country, which will eventually lead to more opportunities in the banking industry as well,” the Vice President added.
According to Robredo, the cooperative model has proven itself to be an effective mechanism for people to reach their full potential.
“It introduces our people to important concepts such as shared governance, leadership, and decision-making, all of which contribute to empowerment,” she said in her speech.
“This confidence goes a long way, making for a revitalized and strong citizenry, one that is essential in our progress as a nation,” Robredo continued.
The Vice President lauded the Metro South Cooperative Bank for its “impressive in membership.”
She said the benefits from its network “go beyond financial empowerment for a large part of our nation’s poor, and even create an important shift in our people’s values.”
The Vice President underscored the importance of cooperative banks that teach not just business accountability and transparency, but also a culture of saving and investing for the future.
“On top of that, you take the hard road of mentoring, coaching, and encouraging one another. These are the foundations of genuine change; these are the unseen and sometimes under-appreciated efforts that will bring prosperity to all,” she said.
Water for the water-less
Robredo witnessed the signing between her Chief of Staff Philip Dy and Manila Water Foundation President Ferdinand Dela Cruz at the Quezon City Reception House.
According to the Office of the Vice President, the foundation has “agreed to help distribute water to disaster-stricken communities” under the Angat Buhay program.
The OVP and its new partner will also share “relevant information for disaster preparedness and response,” it added.
Under the agreement, Manila Water commits to immediate distribution of drinking water to calamity-hit communities through its Agapay para sa Barangay initiative.
Robredo’s office, on the other hand, partnered with the foundation under the Angat Buhay’s Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation (DRR) component.
DRR is another component of her flagship project that provides assistance to Filipinos who have been affected by calamities or armed conflicts.
Just last month, a community in Mabini, Batangas benefited from their partnership after they distributed drinking water to earthquake victims.