Reviving our micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should be the government’s priority in tackling the problem of unemployment, independent presidential bet Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson said.
Lacson pointed out that MSMEs are still recovering from the lockdowns triggered by the pandemic, even as they now face new challenges such as rising costs of fuel.
“Buhayin ang MSME, yan ang biggest source natin of employment. Yan ang unang bumagsak so kailangang buhayin (We should revive our MSMEs, which are the biggest supplier of labor. Our MSMEs should be the first to be revived),” he said in an interview in Bogo, Cebu on Thursday, when asked how he would address the problem if he were elected President.
He noted MSMEs account for 99.5 percent of our enterprises, and 63.2 percent of our labor force.
On Thursday, the Philippine Statistics Authority said the unemployment rate in February was at 6.4 percent. This meant some 3.13 million were unemployed in February 2022.
Lacson said that if he is elected into office, he would ensure easier access for MSMEs to financial assistance. Earlier, he and his vice presidential bet Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III vowed to set up a mechanism for this.
According to Lacson, various government agencies have at least 20 programs including microfinancing and credit facilities, but MSMEs may not be aware of them.
“Iniisip namin ni SP, i-streamline natin (Senate President Sotto and I are thinking of streamlining all this),” he said.
Lacson also said his administration will set up programs for skills matching, such that the basis of employment will be one’s skills and not age or “disability.”