UNITEAM senatorial candidate Herbert “Bistek” Bautista on Wednesday raised hopes for the micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) would regain solid footing as the backbone of the Philippine economy with the help of local governments following the onslaught of pandemic-induced economic difficulties.
“The local governments will have a major role here,” said Bautista, who was a three-term mayor of Quezon City. “The municipalities, cities, and even provinces,” he said in an interview with radio station dzJO Baler.
He said local governments could support the growth and revival of MSMEs through various means.
“They can give incentives,” said Bautista, who is running for senator on a platform of “Internet reform, Livelihood for all and Youth development”, or ILY, and “Pagkain para sa Pamilyang Pilipino”.
“For example, if you’re an entrepreneur and want to start a business, you can be given incentives,” he explained, such as a one-year break from paying real estate taxes or a 50% discount.
But he said there should be a condition that businesses that are reopening would have to rehire the workers they had before the pandemic.
“Give them a chance to return to work, and create jobs,” Bautista said.
Tens of thousands of MSMEs either closed or were driven to bankruptcies at the height of movement restrictions during lockdowns between 2020 and 2021, displacing hundreds of thousands of workers.
MSMEs, according to Bautista, generate up to 96% of all jobs in the Philippines, which make these businesses vital to economic recovery.