Feature: Be self-employed now
By Venus H. Sarmiento
Dagupan City (29 June) -- More and more Filipinos choose to be self-employed to avoid the blunt of the global economic meltdown, and they are thankful for it.
The 2009 Labor Force survey shows that 12.1 million Filipinos are either employers or self-employed workers. With the development of micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs, more and more people are turning to micro-finance programs for their alternative means and livelihood.
More so, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 percent in April 2009 from 8 percent last year because of this endeavor.
The government's existing credit line programs such as the Small and Medium Enterprise Unified Lending Opportunities for National Growth (SULONG) of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Self Employment Assistance Kaunlaran (SEA-K) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development have helped Filipino entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
The total micro-finance loans reached P140.53 billion generating 2. 46 million new jobs from 2004 to October 2008.
Lito San Juan, owner of First Snowden Systems and Industrial Corporation, is one of the beneficiaries of the SULONG program. San Juan said the government is a big help to the SMEs, noting that 90 percent of businesses are SMEs and these, he said, are what will bring Filipinos to the next generation.
Bayong Maker Roberta Sayson and Buko Dealer Celia Cafirma are just as thankful to the national government for the loan assistance they received to start their own businesses.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo salutes the Filipino entrepreneurs who, she said, are "patriots who believe in our country and people who invest in our nation's future." (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]