PH, Canadian governments launch P320-M Project for Women’s Economic Empowerment

Labor Usec. Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III;Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development-Canada’s Cooperation Department Head Stephen Weaver; ECHOsi Foundation President Jeannie Javelosa; PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa; Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines His Excellency Neil Reeder; Trade and Industry Usec. Zenaida Maglaya, Agriculture Usec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat; Science and Technology Usec. Elizabeth Fontanilla; and PLDT-Smart Foundation President Esther Santos

Approximately 12,000 owner-entrepreneurs and workers of microenterprises can look forward to more competitive businesses and better lives with the launching of the GREAT Women-2 or the Supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in the Philippines Project.

On June 25, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), together with partner agencies Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of Science and Technology (DOST), launched the P320 million Project in a ceremony held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Quezon City.

The Philippine Government identified the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as a promising growth area and a gateway towards a more inclusive and sustainable economic growth. DTI data (2012) revealed that 99.6% of Philippine businesses are categorized as MSMEs, accounting for 61% to 70% of employment.

With this national context, the project targets to assist around 12,000 owner-entrepreneurs and workers of microenterprises in the identified food and non-food industry clusters across the country by improving the competitiveness and sustainability of their enterprises. In doing so, the project brings together public and private sector development institutions to address barriers that keep women from growing their businesses through regulatory or policy reforms.

In his previous statement, Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder said he believes that the Supporting WEE Project can exceed the gains of the first phase of Gender-Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women (GREAT Women-1) Project, which benefited an estimated 14,000 women micro-entrepreneurs.

Microentrepreneur Vivencia Mamites from Davao del Sur (left most) and Chair for APEC Women and the Economy Forum and DTI Usec. Nora K. Terrado (right most) join the ceremonial launching of the Supporting WEE Project in the Philippines on June 25 at the Crowne Plaza Manila.

“We hope that this project can show us innovative approaches to women’s economic enterprises that can contribute to the Philippines’ goals of inclusive growth,” he said.

In her opening message, PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa assured the Canadian government that the Commission is committed to implement the new WEE Project with partner, DTI, DA, DOLE, DOST, and private sector partners such us the ECHOsi Foundation and PLDT-Smart. She also thanked DFATD for entrusting the project yet again to PCW for the benefit of more Filipino women.

Top officials from partner agencies such as Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco A. Lagunzad, Agriculture Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, and DTI Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya attended the launching and gave their messages of commitment to project implementation with the goal to boost the economic empowerment of women in the MSMEs cluster.