By Hannah Torregoza
Reelectionist Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara reiterated his belief that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) deserve government support as they continue to serve as the “backbone” of the Philippine economy.
Speaking at the “Mentor Me on Wheels” organized by the GO Negosyo advocacy group in Lucky Chinatown in Manila, Angara cited the critical role of MSMEs as one of the key drivers of the Philippines’ economic growth.
MSMEs, according to the senator, comprise 99 percent of business enterprises operating across the country with close to five million people or 63 percent of jobs created in 2017.
“Mahalagang suportahan at tulungan kayo ng gobyerno dahil ang MSMEs tulad ninyo ang mayorya ng ating ekonomiya ngayon, (It’s very important that the government supports and helps you, because MSMEs like you comprise majority of our economy now),” Angara said during the event held, Thursday.
“Ibig sabihin, napakalaki ng inyong naiambag para sa kaunlaran ng bansa. Kaya nararapat lamang na pagtuunan kayo ng pansin at paglaanan ng suporta at tulong ng ating gobyerno, (This means, that your contribution to the nation’s development is huge. That is why it is only fitting that the government pays attention to your needs and grant you support),” said Angara, chair of the Senate ways and means committee.
The senator said he was glad that the Duterte administration has enacted several pro-MSME laws, some of which he had vigorously pushed and supported in the Senate.
Foremost among these laws is Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act of 2018, which aims to improve the overall business environment in the country by making the process of putting up and running a business easier and more efficient.
With its enactment, Angara said MSMEs can rely on the government to make transactions much faster, easier and free of corruption.
“Makakaasa na kayong mga negosyante na magiging madali ang kumuha ng permit, magbayad ng buwis at makipagtransaksyon sa gobyerno, (Businessmen can now expect faster processing of permits, easier tax payment and easier transactions with the government,” he stressed.
Aside from the Ease of Doing Business Act, Angara was also one of the authors of the newly enacted law amending the Corporate Code to allow the registration of one-person corporations in a bid to encourage more people to set up businesses and help create more jobs.
He also facilitated the lowering of the income tax rate to 25 percent from the high of 32 percent and the exemption of workers whose annual earning is P250,000 or below from income tax payment.
The income tax rate reduction and tax exemption resulted in some P103-billion in savings on the part of the workers, data from the Department of Finance (DOF) covering the first three quarters of 2018 showed.
Apart from this, Angara also pushed for the adjustment of the value-added tax (VAT) threshold to P3-million from P1.9-million in order to protect not only poor and low-income Filipinos but also MSMEs, as it effectively exempts the sale of goods and services of marginal establishments from VAT.